Fitchburg Woman Charged in Mail Theft
WORCESTER -- Footage from hidden cameras installed in a Harvard post office and mail truck have linked a postal carrier from Fitchburg to $37,000 in charges to stolen credit cards and show the woman smoking from a glass pipe while out delivering mail, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.
Stephanie Lacroix, 37, of Fitchburg, is facing mail theft charges following a federal investigation into her work as a mail carrier in the town of Harvard this spring and summer.
According to an affidavit filed by Brian Martineau, a special agent with the United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, an investigation on Lacroix began this spring after police in Harvard received numerous complaints from residents about credit cards they expected to receive by mail being stolen.
As of August, 33 Harvard residents had reported such thefts. According to Martineau, all of these people lived on Lacroix’s mail delivery route.
Martineau’s office requested that cameras be installed in the post office Lacroix worked in, as well as the truck she drove on her route to monitor her behavior. While making her delivery rounds on Aug. 6, Lacroix was observed opening a series of envelopes she was responsible for delivery and putting all of the open mail into a grocery bag, which she then put in her purse, according to the affidavit. She was also observed removing a Starbucks gift card from one piece of mail, the affidavit stated.
According to Martineau’s affidavit, Lacroix was also recorded while taking a glass pipe from her purse.
“Lacroix looked around (likely to see if anyone was watching her) and then proceeded to remove a substance from a clear baggie and put it into the glass pipe. Lacroix then smoked the substance in the pipe,” Martineau wrote.
Lacroix was located by police that same day and brought in for questioning, during which she denied having opened any mail or smoked any substance while in her delivery truck.
However, Lacroix was observed through security camera footage at several area businesses to be using the stolen credit cards on three occasions, the affidavit states. She was recorded using stolen cards at gas stations in Lunenburg and Boxboro on June 28 and at a Leominster Wal-Mart on July 24.
Federal investigators had previously tried a similar investigation earlier in the year that proved unsuccessful at the time. According to Martineau’s affidavit, a hidden camera was installed in Lacroix’s truck in April, which she found several days later. Martineau noted that “reports of missing mail decreased for a period of time” immediately after this before resuming again.
Footage from Lacroix’s truck on Aug. 6 also showed her traveling to a Harvard Dunkin’ Donuts to meet with the driver of a dark SUV, who was observed on the store’s security footage to be using one of the stolen credit cards from Lacroix’s route to make a purchase. Lacroix and the driver of the SUV then left the Dunkin’ Donuts to meet at the parking lot of Harvard Town Hall about five minutes later, where Lacroix exited her truck, entered the SUV, and drove off with the driver. According to Martineau’s report, the two returned to the parking lot about 20 minutes later.
Martineau notes in his affidavit that Lacroix had brought her purse into the SUV and that it would have contained the grocery bag full of stolen mail she had taken from her truck. However, when Lacroix was questioned by police later that same day, the bag of mail was not found in her purse.
Two non-USPS employees were identified in July as having used stolen credit cards from Lacroix’s route. Though their names are not given in Martineau’s report, he does write that they are a couple from Leominster and that one of them was the driver of the SUV.
Lacroix was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Worcester on Friday and released on conditions that she surrender her passport and undergo drug testing.
It was not immediately clear what Lacroix’s job status was. A call to the Harvard postmaster was not returned on Monday.
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