(WNY News Now) – A 40-year-old Rochester mail carrier, has been arrested and charged with theft and destruction of mail, marking a potential five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Rochester – U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross disclosed today that Marlene Cruz, a full-time Mail Carrier based in Rochester, New York, has been arrested and charged with theft of mail matter by an officer or employee and delay or destruction of mail. The charges, if proven, carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a substantial $250,000 fine.
The allegations stem from complaints received by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in January 2022, where individuals reported tampering with their mail in late 2021. A subsequent investigation, led by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General under the direction of Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent-in-Charge Northeast Field Office, revealed that Cruz was the assigned Mail Carrier for the affected route.
The investigative findings indicate that between January 2022 and November 2023, Cruz engaged in the routine opening of envelopes and parcels, extracting various items such as ticket stubs, documents, cash, lottery tickets, and gift cards on numerous occasions. To validate these claims, mail integrity tests were conducted in May and November 2023. Greeting cards containing cash and gift cards were purposely placed in the mail to be delivered by Cruz.
On November 2, 2023, following the conclusion of her shift, investigators apprehended Cruz and executed a warrant for her person and personal belongings. During the search, a gift card from one of the mail integrity test greeting cards was recovered from Cruz’s personal duffle bag, providing further evidence of her alleged involvement in mail theft.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, who is overseeing the case, emphasized the severity of the charges against Cruz. The investigation underscores the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General in addressing and rectifying the reported issues of mail tampering.
The arrest and charges against Cruz raise concerns about the integrity of the postal service and the potential impact on public trust. The USPS has not yet commented on the ongoing investigation, and it remains to be seen how this incident might prompt reassessment of security measures within the postal service.