Feds say postal carrier stole mail from village boxes
ALTAMONT — Police arrested a former mail carrier, Kimberly Dott, on May 22 after she was accused of stealing from village mailboxes in 2011 and using their contents, totaling more than $500, of gift cards and cash.
Diana Feeser, an agent with the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, brought the complaints to the attention of Altamont Police in May after the OIG investigation of Dott, 44. Chief Todd Pucci said the report of the investigation indicates Dott did not return some mail, admitted to taking items, and was found using another person’s gift card in Wal-Mart on Washington Avenue Extension.
“She’s alleging she took a lot of cards,” said Pucci. London Warren, spokeswoman for the USPS OIG, said she did not see parcels listed in the report, only flat-letter mail.
Dott was arrested by Altamont Police for fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and second-degree identity theft — both felonies — and official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
Pucci said Dott turned herself in to be arrested and was arraigned in Altamont Village Court, where she was released on her own recognizance without bail. The police were not involved in the investigation.
“I’m not guilty and I’m confident the charges are going to get dropped,” Dott said following her appearance in Altamont Village Court Wednesday, when she was scheduled to reappear in July. Local courts do not try felony cases.
Dott said she worked for the Altamont Post Office for less than a year. Her attorney, assistant public defender Jeffrey T. Richards, said he has not seen the OIG report, only accusatory instruments describing the charges.
Pucci did not release the report. It stated, on its cover page, it cannot be accessed through a Freedom of Information Law request.
In the report, Pucci said, Dott claimed financial hardship and did not admit to or recall all of the reports of missing mail made in Altamont.
“I don’t know if that was a voluntary statement. I don’t know if she was represented by counsel at that point,” Richards said after the court appearance.
The investigation lasted from June 2011 to February 2012. In April 2013, Warren said, the United States Department of Justice Northern District of New York decided the case wouldn’t be pursued through its office.
The United States Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment.
Cecilia Logue of the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, which is now involved in the case, said she could not comment, citing the ongoing status of the investigation.
Warren said an employee at the Altamont Post Office notified the OIG in June 2011, saying multiple customers had reported their mail was missing.
“She had quit just at the end because, they believe, she had seen a camera they had installed,” said Pucci, describing the OIG effort to take footage from inside Dott’s vehicle.
Two pieces of mail were placed on Dott’s route, Pucci said, one of which the postmaster found was not returned to the office.
Warren did not have a total for the value stolen.
“That’ll all be determined by the district attorney’s office — how many victims — I don’t have a value for you,” said Warren.