Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft; Post Office Worker Stole From Mail in Meriden

Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Newport — A former Meriden postal worker pleaded guilty in Sullivan County Superior Court on Monday to a felony charge of opening mail and stealing cash and gift cards.

Kim Smith, 50, of Hartland, who will be sentenced at a later date, also pleaded guilty to having an unlicensed loaded pistol in her vehicle, which police found during the investigation on the charge of theft by unauthorized taking.

Assistant County Attorney Justin Hersh told Judge Brian Tucker the prosecution is recommending two 12-month sentences to be served at the same time, with six months suspended at the House of Corrections in Unity.

Smith was cited by Plainfield police in November after a surveillance camera captured her opening mail on Oct. 30, taking out cash, putting it in her pocket, resealing the envelopes with a glue stick and sending them on to their destinations, Hersh said in court.

The camera was installed in response to several complaints from residents about receiving mail that appeared to be tampered with, according to a police affidavit.

When interviewed by police on Nov. 18, Smith acknowledged stealing cash at least three times but said “she didn’t know why she did it,” Hersh said.

Police charged her with stealing 17 gift cards with a total value of $920 and $200 in cash, for a total of $1,120. Any amount more than $1,000 makes the case a felony, with a possible sentence of 3½ to seven years in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Smith was ordered to pay restitution, but Hersh said efforts to find the owners of the cards and cash have not been successful and might not be possible.

The thefts began at the end of August 2015, according to the charges.

When Smith’s vehicle was searched after the investigation began, police found a loaded pistol that was unlicensed, Hersh said.

Two other misdemeanor charges — receiving stolen property and abuse of office — were dismissed by prosecutors.

Smith, who also has worked in post offices in Hartland, Lebanon and Weathersfield and was working part time in Meriden beginning in May 2015, remains free on bail. She was represented by public defender Jennifer Cohen.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.