Prosecutor: Photo catches postmaster using stolen gift card

Prosecutor: Photo catches postmaster using stolen gift card »Play Video

IDAHO CITY, Idaho (KBOI) - Prosecutors say the postmaster of Idaho City stole a $5 Target gift card enclosed in a greeting card that had been mailed from the city. Investigators say it was part of a "test mailing" after two complaints of mail that went missing last year.

Postmaster Teresa Belau appeared in court for her preliminary hearing Monday.

Boise County prosecutors entered a grainy surveillance photo into evidence. It was taken as the person was leaving the Target in Boise. Greg Johnson with the USPS Office of Inspector General testified that using the serial number on the gift card, Target was able to trace the transaction to its Boise location and find the surveillance image that corresponded to the person who redeemed the card.
Johnson believes the person is Belau. He interviewed her in August.
"She stated that she took the card, greeting card, in her office," Johnson said. "She said that she used a letter opener to remove the Target gift card, then glued the envelope back together."
Johnson said he dropped the gift card in the mail at the Idaho City Post Office and Belau redeemed it.
He said Belau is the one in the photo but the postmaster's lawyer, Bradley Poole, said it could be anyone.
"Is it really true that the only similarity is the hair color?" Poole said. "That picture is extremely vague. We're just wondering how you reached that conclusion."
Belau became postmaster in August 1999, according to the USPS website. She is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 13.