ARTICLE

Former Iowa postal worker admits stealing checks

But 26-year postal veteran says he was unaware of grand jury indictment

A former West Des Moines postal worker acknowledged Thursday that he was caught stealing customer rebate checks from the mail but said federal authorities have not notified him that he's been indicted for doing so.

Glenn A. Reisinger of Norwalk told The Associated Press in a phone interview he was caught on tape taking customer rebate checks issued by retailer Menard, Inc. that were being returned to the company after they were mailed to bad customer addresses. He said he saw no harm in doing so at the time since the customers could not be located, but now realizes it was "a mistake, of course."

Reisinger said he was a clerk at a post office in West Des Moines and he retired under pressure in June after he was caught. He said he worked for the postal service for 29 years.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment Oct. 26 charging Reisinger with one count of theft by a postal employee, which carries up to 5 years in prison. It alleges he stole five checks totaling $577 ranging in size from $14 to $330 between March and June.

Reisinger said he didn't know about the indictment or that his arraignment and initial appearance were scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Des Moines. At that appearance, he would be notified of the charges against him and be allowed to enter a plea.

"Nobody has said anything to me about it," he said.

Employees in the U.S. District Court clerk's office in Des Moines said a summons ordering Reisinger to appear in court Thursday was issued Oct. 26 and mistakenly dated Sept. 26 but nothing indicates that federal marshals actually delivered it to him. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said he was looking into the matter. The marshals service did not immediately return a phone message.

Clerk's officials said it's unusual for a summons not to be executed, but not unprecedented. They said they could reschedule the arraignment if the summons wasn't delivered but authorities would arrest Reisinger if it had been and he failed to show up for court.

Reisinger's attorney, Tim McCarthy of Des Moines, was stunned by news of the charge against his client. "We hadn't heard one word," he said.

After learning of the indictment, McCarthy said he was in contact with the office of Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer, who agreed to delay the hearing from 2 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. so the attorney could attend. McCarthy said Reisinger would plead not guilty and then "see what they claim happened."

McCarthy said he was told the summons was sent by mail to Reisinger, who insists he never got it.

"It would have been really dismal had ... he gotten picked up and thrown in jail and we would have explained that he didn't get it," McCarthy said.Postal spokesman Richard Watkins had no immediate comment.

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