Postal worker charged with stealing reward certificates sent in mail, DA says

A postal carrier was arraigned on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in Costco reward certificates while working at a Bay Shore post office, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Gerome Fowler, 32, of North Babylon, is charged with stealing more than 50 reward certificates, equaling nearly $7,000, in about a six-month period, Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Tierney said they believe Fowler is responsible for “multiple thefts of this kind” totaling to more than $70,000.

“I’m here to tell you … that if you steal property from Suffolk County residents in Suffolk County, you will be prosecuted,” Tierney said.

At his arraignment on Tuesday, Fowler pleaded not guilty to third-degree grand larceny, one count of petit larceny, one count of official misconduct and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 2⅓ to 7 years in prison, Tierney said.

Fowler, who was released, walked out of Suffolk First District Court with a shirt covering his face and did not comment.

Fowler’s attorney, Robert Santucci, said he was surprised about the same against his client. “Everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” Santucci said outside the courthouse. “I’ve known him for close to 25 years. He’s an outstanding member of this community. I used to coach him in Little League.”

According to the Suffolk district attorney’s office, Fowler was able to intercept the checks in the mail and cashed them at multiple Costco locations including Nesconset, Commack, Melville and Riverhead. He used the funds to purchase items such as food, clothing and jewelry, Tierney said.

After being tipped off by a Costco employee, the district attorney’s office conducted a 6-month investigation, where they obtained physical and video evidence of Fowler stealing and redeeming the certificates, prosecutors said.

The investigation is ongoing, Tierney noted.

“If anyone in the public believes that they should have received a Costco reward certificate recently and did not, they should reach out to Costco and Costco will make the appropriate referrals to my office for further investigation,” Tierney said.

In a statement, Amy Gibbs, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, said the postal service does not comment on administrative actions.

“The US Postal Service considers the sanctity of mail among its highest priorities,” the statement said. “We continue to work very closely with our law enforcement partners at the Office of Inspector General and the US Postal Service Inspection Service to ensure that sanctity.”

Special Agent in Charge Steven Vargas with USPS’ s Office of the Inspector General, whose office assisted in the investigation, said: “The hard work of the hundreds of thousands of postal service employees should not be overshadowed by those who decide to compromise their integrity for personal gain.”

With Cecilia Dowd

A postal carrier was arraigned on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in Costco reward certificates while working at a Bay Shore post office, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Gerome Fowler, 32, of North Babylon, is charged with stealing more than 50 reward certificates, equaling nearly $7,000, in about a six-month period, Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Tierney said they believe Fowler is responsible for “multiple thefts of this kind” totaling to more than $70,000.

“I’m here to tell you … that if you steal property from Suffolk County residents in Suffolk County, you will be prosecuted,” Tierney said.

At his arraignment on Tuesday, Fowler pleaded not guilty to third-degree grand larceny, one count of petit larceny, one count of official misconduct and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 2⅓ to 7 years in prison, Tierney said.

Fowler, who was released, walked out of Suffolk First District Court with a shirt covering his face and did not comment.

Fowler’s attorney, Robert Santucci, said he was surprised about the same against his client. “Everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” Santucci said outside the courthouse. “I’ve known him for close to 25 years. He’s an outstanding member of this community. I used to coach him in Little League.”

According to the Suffolk district attorney’s office, Fowler was able to intercept the checks in the mail and cashed them at multiple Costco locations including Nesconset, Commack, Melville and Riverhead. He used the funds to purchase items such as food, clothing and jewelry, Tierney said.

After being tipped off by a Costco employee, the district attorney’s office conducted a 6-month investigation, where they obtained physical and video evidence of Fowler stealing and redeeming the certificates, prosecutors said.

The investigation is ongoing, Tierney noted.

“If anyone in the public believes that they should have received a Costco reward certificate recently and did not, they should reach out to Costco and Costco will make the appropriate referrals to my office for further investigation,” Tierney said.

In a statement, Amy Gibbs, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, said the postal service does not comment on administrative actions.

“The US Postal Service considers the sanctity of mail among its highest priorities,” the statement said. “We continue to work very closely with our law enforcement partners at the Office of Inspector General and the US Postal Service Inspection Service to ensure that sanctity.”

Special Agent in Charge Steven Vargas with USPS’ s Office of the Inspector General, whose office assisted in the investigation, said: “The hard work of the hundreds of thousands of postal service employees should not be overshadowed by those who decide to compromise their integrity for personal gain.”

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