Two New York City postal workers have been separately arrested, one on suspicion of stealing at least $1,000 worth of gift cards over a period of a year and another for allegedly throwing out mail he said was too "overwhelming" for him to deliver, officials say.
Investigators began looking into James Hayden, a full-time mail carrier, when a Florida woman filed a complaint on Aug. 31, stating that the $100 Visa gift card she mailed to her son in Red Hook, Brooklyn, never reached him, according to a federal criminal complaint. Authorities tracked the gift card and found it had been used throughout Red Hook about four days after it was mailed.
Surveillance footage from those transactions showed a man wearing a USPS uniform making the purchase, and a supervisor at the Red Hook post office identified the man as Hayden.
Another complaint about a missing Amazon gift card also matched the purchases on the stolen card to Hayden, according to authorities.
In an interview with investigators, Hayden admitted he'd been opening and stealing mail for about a year, looking especially for envelopes he thought might contain gift cards. He estimated taking about 50 gift cards from mail over the past year, profiting about $1,000.
The other arrested USPS employee, Daniel Darby, began working as a substitute mail carrier in November and was assigned to the Hollis post office in Queens, according to a federal complaint. On Dec. 2, he was told to report to Ozone Park.
Two days later, approximately 1,000 pieces of U.S. mail were recovered from three white trash bags inside a garbage can on private property in Ozone Park, the complaint said. Officials tracked the mail to Darby's route, and in an interview with investigators on Dec. 7, Darby admitted to trashing the mail.
Darby told investigators that "he was overwhelmed by the quantity of mail he was responsible for delivering on Dec. 2," according to the complaint. He went to a supermarket to buy trash bags, filled three bags with mail and dumped the mail into a garbage can at a home.
He also acknowledged that he ripped some of the mail to see what it contained.
Both men were arraigned Tuesday afternoon, and Hayden was released on $75,000 bond and Darby was released on $50,000 bond, according to officials.
The USPS said both Darby and Hayden have been suspended without pay.
Contact information for Darby and Hayden could not immediately be located, and attorney information was not available.