A van leaves the U.S. Postal Service's sorting facility in Scarborough in this December 2015 file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A former carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Bar Harbor pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to stealing cash and gift cards from recipients on his delivery route.

Daniel Hindes, 35, of Hancock was accused of opening letters he was supposed to deliver between late November 2019 and March 2020, according to documents filed in federal court in Bangor. He was accused of opening the letters in his delivery vehicle, stealing 17 Walmart gift cards and more than $160 in cash he found in them, and then discarding the letters and envelopes that accompanied the items into the garbage.

“The defendant then converted the cash and gift cards he had taken for his own personal use, often by making purchases at the Walmart store located in Ellsworth, Maine, or by providing the gift cards he had stolen to his spouse for her to shop there for the defendant and his family,” federal prosecutors said in court documents.

Hindes later told federal postal inspectors he had opened between 20 and 30 letters and acknowledged that he and his wife were recorded by Walmart store security cameras using gift cards he had stolen, prosecutors said.

Hindes has been charged with one count of theft of mail by a postal employee. He faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....