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former postal worker charged with stealing netflix dVDs, other mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former postal employee was charged in federal court today with stealing hundreds of Netflix movies, gift cards and other mail.

Felipe S. Lara, 35, of Blue Springs, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and was charged in a federal information with theft of mail matter by an employee.

Lara was employed as a rural carrier associate for the U.S. Postal Service. From June 19, 2009, through Feb. 15, 2011, Lara allegedly removed 120 Netflix DVDs and approximately 1,000 pieces of mail, including gift cards valued at $215, from the mail that he was supposed to deliver in the 64151-64155 zip codes.

According to court documents, the federal investigation began when Netflix alerted the Postal Service about high volume losses in those zip codes. Investigators conducted a trash pull at Lara’s residence and found hundreds of pieces of mail that weren’t addressed to him. A search warrant was executed on Feb. 15, 2011, and investigators found the DVDs from Netflix and the gift cards, as well as two black trash bags that contained 444 pieces of mail, 80 rifled envelopes and several magazines, none of which was addressed to Lara.

The total loss alleged as a result of Lara’s actions is $2,560, which includes individual victim losses of $513 and Netflix losses of $2,046.

Phillips cautioned that this charge is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.

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