KINGSPORT - A Kingsport postal worker who admitted to stealing items sent through the mail and selling them on eBay has pleaded guilty in federal court to mail theft.
Jeffrey Dean Davis pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Monday to one count of mail theft. Davis is scheduled to be sentenced on May 7 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to court documents, Davis worked at the U.S. Postal Service from November 1997 to December 2005. While employed as a clerk at the Kingsport Main Post Office, Davis' duties included sorting mail.
Prosecutors say that on Oct. 25, 2005, a postal supervisor looked into the back side of a post office box being rented by Davis and saw five sheets of postage stamps valued at $385. A few minutes after Davis left the office, the supervisor noticed the stamps were gone from the post office box.
Court documents state the U.S. Postal Inspection Service began to investigate this incident and reports from co-workers who had seen Davis placing mail in his lunch bag.
On two occasions in December 2005, inspectors videotaped Davis placing mail in his lunch bag just before he left the office. On the second incident, inspectors confronted Davis and found six unopened mail items, including two DVDs and a child's Christmas gift from his great-grandmother, court records state.
After being read his rights, Davis told inspectors that over a four- to five-month period he had been stealing four to five mail items per week. Davis also admitted to stealing the $385 in stamps, which were used to mail items.
Court records state inspectors then searched Davis' residence, where they found four mailing receipts for parcels sent to eBay customers - DVDs he had stolen from the mail.
Inspectors also found nine other DVDs, two periodicals and an autographed photograph of actor Leslie Nielsen - all of which were stolen from the mail. Court records state inspectors found 10 empty envelopes or parcel labels addressed to people other than Davis.