Local postal worker charged in Evansville mail theft

Published: Jul. 10, 2013 at 2:15 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2013 at 2:15 PM CDT
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A former Evansville postal worker is facing five years in federal prison for stealing cash and gift cards from the mail.

US Attorney Joseph Hogsett says 52-year-old Ann Gauer faces some 50 counts of theft.

Janice Jones is surprised, but happy to learn the post office was able to pinpoint the thief.

Hogsett tells 14 News that his investigators made this case a priority because there is zero tolerance for misconduct by federal employees.

More than 6,000 pieces of mail are processed in the United States every second. Millions of envelopes containing birthday cards with a bonus, cash and gift cards for loved ones.

"In January, I mailed a gift card, a Walmart gift card to my granddaughter in Moniet, Missouri. A few days later my daughter got the card and she called me and she said, 'Are you sure you put a gift card in there,' and I said, 'Yeah, there's a gift card in there. She said, 'No there's not," Jones said.

US Attorney Joseph Hogsett says that envelope had been opened by 52-year-old Ann Gauer, an employee at the Evansville Processing and Distributing Center. Authorities say she stole money and gift cards from mail between December 2012 and January 2013.

Jones says she has proof that the $30 gift card she sent, was used at the west side Walmart.

"It was a laundry basket, a pink rug, like a shag rug, a candle lighter that you light candles with, things that led me to suspect it was probably a female that took it," Jones said.

Jones learned on Wednesday that she wasn't alone.

"There were at least more than 50 victims, of gift card theft that Miss Gauer has been charged with being involved in," Hogsett said.

When Jones first reported the theft in January, she says the post office told her they would start an investigation, but said it was extremely hard to track down this type of theft.

"I was really surprised, but I'm really ecstatic about it too, especially to find out that I wasn't the only person that it had happened to. I'm glad that she's caught," Jones said.

Hogsett says Gauer has pled guilty to the theft, but her plea agreement has not yet been accepted by the courts. She has not been arrested, but will be in court in the coming weeks.

Pending the outcome of that plea agreement, she's facing five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

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