BROOKFIELD — The Office of the U.S. Postal Service's Inspector General is investigating allegations of theft inside the post office in Brookfield.
Jeff Arney, assistant special agent in charge, said the allegations surfaced in "late fall."
Arney said he couldn't disclose how many packages were targeted and/or tampered with, and didn't specify how many employees are under investigation.
But he said the suspects have been placed on unpaid leave.
“The vast majority of U.S. Postal Service personnel are dedicated, hard-working public servants dedicated to moving mail to its proper destination who would never consider engaging in any form of criminal behavior," Arney said in a statement.
"This type of alleged behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated and when a postal employee betrays that trust of the American people, the special agents in the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General vigorously investigate these matters as we did in this instance and work with local, state and federal prosecutors to hold accountable those employees who violate that public trust," the statement continued.
Eventually, the findings of the ongoing investigation will be presented to USPS officials for possible disciplinary measures against the employees involved.
The U.S. Attorney's Office could also opt to prosecute the suspects.
"The vast majority of U.S. Postal Service personnel are dedicated, hard-working public servants dedicated to moving mail to its proper destination who would never consider engaging in any form of criminal behavior." — Jeff Arney, assistant special agent in charge
Arney said the alleged thefts occurred in the portion of the Brookfield facility known as the Computerized Forwarding System (CFS), which is where the USPS processes mail being forwarded to people who have moved and changed addresses.
Arney said items from some packages that were undeliverable, because the forwarding address was incorrect and/or there was no return address, went missing instead of being forwarded on to a different USPS facility in accordance with standard procedure.
Some USPS customers were worried by news of the investigation.
"I'm concerned," said Evangeline Karioris, of Elm Grove.
"People will just have to be more alert about their mail now," she added.