Ohio postal worker denies stealing items from packages

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A western Ohio postal worker has denied accusations that she stole items from several packages by stuffing them into her sweatpants.

Former Springfield mail processing clerk Leanna Heskett pleaded not guilty Thursday to 21 counts of delay or destruction of mail.

Her attorney didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

The federal criminal complaint states that Heskett stuffed the items into her pants and then disappeared for short periods of time. A court affidavit says the alleged thefts were caught on surveillance video.

Heskett is the fifth postal worker accused of federal crimes in the Dayton area in less than two years.

The postal service’s last half-year report to Congress reported that 2,216 investigations of mail theft occurred between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2015.