Two postal workers suspected of stealing Netflix DVDs
LYONS, Colo. - The Denver office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has apparently cracked a theft case involving hundreds of DVDs being stolen from the U.S. Mail.
During a two-month period last year, hundreds of DVDs intended for Netflix customers in Lyons, Colorado never arrived at their destinations. Investigators say the problem stopped after postal inspectors caught two postal workers red handed.
Andrew Rivas, spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspectors office in Denver told 9News, “at the time we were receiving these complaints it was among the largest reported losses in the United States from Netflix.”
Netflix is a mail-in movie rental service based in San Francisco, California. According to court records, between January and March of 2005, 503 Netflix DVD movies destined for Lyons, Colorado were reported missing or stolen. Netflix told investigators the loss represents 23.33 percent of all DVD movies mailed to that postal area.
In March, a Lyons Post Office employee, Gloria Flores of Longmont, was arrested when postal inspectors caught her with 6 stolen DVDs as she left work. Court records show at the time, inspectors thought Flores was responsible for all the thefts that were occurring.
But in April, Netflix again complained about thefts in the Lyons area. So the US Postal Inspectors went undercover. In late July, they started following a contract postal driver, Karen Durante of Loveland. In a court records obtained by 9News, the investigators write that they observed Durante leave the Lyons Post Office and drive away to a gas station about a mile away. There, they report that they watched her throw away 33 Netflix envelopes, and one Blockbuster envelope. None of the envelopes were addressed to her and all of them were empty.
In October, Flores pleaded guilty to a felony count of embezzlement for the 6 DVDs found in her car. She was given three years probation. Postal inspectors wouldn’t comment on the status of Durante’s case, saying it was still under investigation.