Idaho City postmaster accused of stealing mail

IDAHO CITY, Idaho (KBOI) - The postmaster of Idaho City faces a charge of grand theft after an investigation into missing mail.

Judge Roger Cockerille read from the complaint at Teresa Belau's arraignment Monday. It alleges she "did wrongfully take a financial transaction card from the owner, the United States Postal Service." That refers to a single gift card taken from the mail in late July.

Trudy Jackson, owner of Trudy's Kitchen, said she's had problems with the post office since 2003, including "my mail being opened and read and things being opened when I received them, things not arriving, checks disappearing."

Jackson said she and others in Idaho City have complained to the U.S. Postal Service for years but she'd given up.

"We've been making complaints for a very long time," Jackson said. "The post office owes us all a huge apology for not listening to us."

The investigative agency, the USPS Office of Inspector General, would only say complaints of missing mail led to an investigation at the post office in August.

A public records request revealed nothing more than that the Office of Inspector General presented its findings in September to the Boise County Prosecutor's Office.

"At this time, no additional information related to this investigation is available for public release due to Privacy Act considerations and the ongoing review by prosecutive authorities," the agency said.

Boise County Prosecuting Attorney Ian Gee said his office would not comment on the case because of the size of the community, which had a population of 485 in the 2010 census. Belau's attorney, Bradley Poole, also declined to comment after the arraignment.

Belau became postmaster in August 1999, according to the USPS website. Her preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 13.