Federal postal investigators say that when mail employee Andrew Walsh saw a greeting card, he saw an opportunity.
The 51-year-old night-shift supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Baltimore has been charged with theft of mail after Walsh was seen during covert surveillance opening greeting cards at a conveyor belt, according to authorities. A search of his vehicle recovered about 450 gift cards.
Federal prosecutors said the investigation was launched after officials received reports that more than 1,200 greeting cards were rifled through over the past three months.
Walsh, a Cockeysville resident, could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison if he is convicted. At the time of his arrest, he was a Postal Service maintenance mechanic and an acting supervisor on a night shift at the Baltimore processing and distribution center in the 900 block of E. Fayette St.
In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, officials said they were notified Feb. 1 by a Bel Air man who said his wife had purchased a $50 Target gift card and mailed it in a greeting card. The envelope was later returned and marked "return to sender," along with a notification to contact postal investigators if anything was missing, according to the complaint.
Investigators tracked the missing gift card and found an inquiry had been made to Target on Jan. 26, a day before about $36 worth of merchandise was purchased with the card. The phone number was tracked to Walsh, who investigators determined was a Postal Service employee.
During covert surveillance March 30 and 31, Walsh was observed spending an "inordinate amount of time throughout the evening at a mail processing conveyor belt," but his hands were concealed, according to the complaint. On April 15, he was observed again. This time, investigators saw him rifling through and removing the contents from numerous cards, authorities said.