A mail carrier from Blue Springs pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing gift cards and checks from postal customers along her routes in Independence.
Audrey Odell, 34, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Kansas City to mail theft charge.
By pleading guilty, Odell admitted that she stole about 150 gift cards and 150 checks from the mail, with an estimated loss of $2,500 from approximately 75 postal customers.
According the court documents, in December 2015 the U.S. Postal Service began receiving complaints regarding mail and possible mail theft happening on Odell's routes. In January 2017, postal inspectors placed mail test pieces with gift cards sent to fictitious addresses in the mail. Odell was assigned to deliver those pieces of mail, which should have been returned to the post station as not deliverable. On Feb. 8, 2017, postal inspectors prepared three additional test pieces for Odell's route that day. Later that day, agents from the USPS-Office of the Inspector General approached Odell in the parking lot and searched her vehicle. The agents found several pieces of mail, including the test mailings.
Odell faces up to five years in federal prison without parole. She will be sentenced at a later date.