CLEVELAND — A Maple Heights mail carrier is facing a federal charge after police in Bedford found mail that didn’t belong to her in the trunk of her car during an arrest.
De’Andrian L. Rice, 27, is charged via criminal complaint with delay or destruction of mail or newspapers.
According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Rice was arrested on Oct. 19 while off-duty by Bedford police. Authorities didn’t say what she was initially arrested for.
When police searched her car, they found hundreds of pieces of mail belonging to various Cleveland and Bedford residents, including one absentee ballot. The mail included political mailers, books from the Dolly Parton Book club and other items. A total of 335 pieces of mail were recovered, authorities said.
Bedford police contacted the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General after making the discovery.
“Americans depend upon the reliability and security of the U.S. mail, especially during this election season,” said U.S Attorney Justin Herdman. “Actions by mail carriers and postal employees that violate this trust will result in federal prosecution.”
Authorities said the mail was sent on its way and the absentee ballot was returned to the voter.
“The vast majority of the 630,000 postal employees are hard-working, trustworthy individuals who work around the clock to deliver the nation’s mail,” said U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely. “However, when one of them chooses to violate that trust, special agents with the USPS OIG will investigate and pursue criminal charges and the employee’s removal.”
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