Postal Worker Stole $2,500 in Birthday Money From Wash. U. and Fontbonne Kids


Is nothing sacred? - IMAGE VIA

Thomas Riner, who sorted mail at the U.S. Postal Service processing center downtown, was convicted in a federal court last Wednesday, November 10, of nine counts of mail tampering and one count of mail theft. All ten cases involved taking money and gift cards from brightly-colored envelopes addressed to students at Washington and Fontbonne Universities.

That's right: Riner was stealing those poor kids' birthday money. Between October and December, 2009, he pocketed $2,500.

The post office began an investigation late last year after workers at several local post offices reported finding already-open envelopes. (Well, hey, at least Riner wanted to make sure everybody was still receiving their birthday greetings.) Surveillance cameras were installed in the main processing center downtown. In mid-December, Riner was caught on-camera ripping open an envelope and nabbing a $20 bill.

Riner, who is 48 and lives in Caseyville, was relieved of his position last December 17.

"[Tampering] ceased soon after," Peggy Smith, the manager of Wash. U.'s mail services told the student paper, Student Life. "We get an occasional open envelope from equipment or otherwise. This was a targeted situation. It was not a common occurrence, but we were very mindful of things coming in that are opened or damaged."

Riner will be sentenced in February. He could be fined as much as $250,000 and spend as long as five years in jail. And he might have to pay back the stolen money.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.