Miami-Dade postal carrier faces 50 years in mail theft case involving thousands in cash

A Miami-Dade postal carrier faces 50 years in prison on charges he stole envelopes containing thousands of dollars in cash from a Florida City outlet store.

Justin Swanson, 28, pleaded not guilty to five counts of mail theft by a postal employee in February, but his attorney filed a notice Tuesday that he will change his plea to guilty to at least some of the counts March 29 in Miami federal court.

A grand jury also indicted Swanson on five counts of delay of mail, with all counts carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Swanson was arrested Jan. 28. Agents with the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General wrote in their complaint that Swanson stole at least 20 priority mail envelopes from the Van Heusen clothing store at the Florida Keys Outlet Center in Florida City that were destined for Ohio.

From November until the day Swanson was arrested, federal agents say 36 envelopes from the store containing a total of $94,000 never made it to their intended recipient, according to court documents.

Swanson picked up 20 of those envelopes, the complaint states.

When agents arrested him, he was leaving the post office with an envelope he picked up from Van Heusen containing $800, according to the complaint.

The envelope was planted at the store by federal agents. It contained a small electronic tracking device. Agents also placed a hidden camera in Swanson’s work car, which recorded him opening the envelope after returning to his vehicle from Van Heusen, agents stated in the complaint.

When the Postal Service agents pulled him over, he admitted to taking the bait envelope, as well as another priority mail envelope from the store the week before, according to the complaint.