Postal employee charged with mail theft

MANKATO — A Postal Service employee is charged with a felony after a sleuthing grandmother allegedly discovered he had stolen her grandson’s birthday present.

Thomas Jeffrey Chaves, 43, of Mankato, was charged with felony mail theft Wednesday in Blue Earth County District Court.

A grandmother reported last fall she placed a birthday card with a gift card in a mail collection box in Mankato and it did not get to her grandson.

The woman checked with the store from which she purchased the gift card and discovered it had been redeemed, the charges said. A store employee provided a surveillance photo of the man who used the card. The grandmother provided the photo to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and an agent there identified Chaves as the man in the photograph.

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