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Press Release

Mail Processing Clerk Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Stealing Cash And Gift Cards Out Of Mail, Assaulting Agents

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

COLUMBUS -- Terrence R. McLean, 38, of Westerville was sentenced in U.S .District Court to 18 months in prison for stealing cash and gift cards from mail he was responsible for processing at the U.S. Postal Service’s Processing and Distribution Center in Columbus, and for assaulting the officers who arrested him..

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Robert LaPina, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, (USPS OIG) announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.

McLean operated a mail sorting machine at the distribution center. On June 29, 2012 USPS OIG special agents watched him separate, cut and tear open colored envelopes while he was at the machine. The USPS OIG special agents saw him remove the contents of the envelopes and place mail in his sock and down the front of his pants.

“McLean targeted greeting cards for his theft scheme since they often contained money or gift cards,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Squires wrote in a memorandum filed with the court prior to sentencing.

USPS OIG special agents approached him as he was leaving the building, identified themselves and told McLean he was under arrest. McLean punched, bit and struck the agents with a coffee mug and cooler. The agents were taken to a nearby hospital and treated for their injuries.

Agents searched McLean and recovered 71 first class letters including 65 that he had stuffed down the front of his pants in his underwear. They found gift cards in his wallet and his work apron and $341 in cash.

“There are two sets of victims in this case,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “The USPS OIG Special Agents who were injured during the arrest and the people who mailed greeting cards and entrusted money and property to the U.S. Mail. The Postal Service Inspector General is to be commended for a quick response after detecting indicators of the theft and thorough investigation.”

McLean pleaded guilty on December 20, 2012 to 71 counts of mail theft by an employee, 12 counts of receipt of stolen mail and two counts of assault on a federal officer.

“The majority of postal employees are hard-working public servants dedicated to moving mail to its proper destination,” U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge LaPina said. “Unfortunately, McLean decided to betray the public’s trust and steal from postal customers, and also violently assault USPS OIG special agents when they attempted to stop him. Today’s sentence demonstrates that USPS OIG special agents take these cases seriously, and that postal employees who steal mail are throwing away their careers and could end up in jail.”

McLean was also ordered to pay restitution of $2,640.02 to the victims including payback of worker compensation of $2,286.92 for medical bills.  

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation by USPS OIG special agents, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Squires, who represented the United States in the case.

Updated July 23, 2015