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Nov. 22, 2010

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(HOUSTON) – Former letter carrier Johnnie Harden Jr., 46, of Houston, has pleaded guilty to mail theft, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Harden was convicted today of mail theft by United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas after pleading guilty to having stolen gift cards and cash contained in pieces of U.S. Mail entrusted to him for delivery.

Harden, who began his employment with the U.S. Postal Service as a city carrier on Nov. 17, 1990, was assigned to work at the Oak Forest Station on Judiway Street in Houston. An indictment charging Harden with two counts of mail theft returned in April 2010 arose from an investigation triggered by a complaint concerning of a mail piece mailed from Mesquite, Texas, containing a greeting card and Target gift card valued at $50 that did not reach its intended recipient in Houston along a route serviced by the Oak Forest Postal Station. 

The United States Postal Service - Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG) investigation following the complaint ultimately identified Harden as the person responsible for servicing the route. He was also identified from a still photo generated from Target surveillance video redeeming the Target gift card. OIG agents later observed Harden opening another mail piece and removing the contents (two $50 bills). When apprehended, agents recovered from Harden’s personal vehicle additional mail pieces including gift cards, magazines and a small parcel. 

Immediately after pleading guilty, Judge Atlas sentenced Harden to one-year probation and ordered him to pay $50 restitution. He is permanently barred from future employment with the USPS.

This investigation leading to Harden’s indictment and arrest was conducted by special agents with USPS-OIG. Special Assistant United States Attorney Tammie Y. Moore is prosecuting the case.

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