Only on 12: Accused post office employee speaks out

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11, November 12, 2007

NEW ELLENTON, SC-- A postal worker resigns in New Ellenton after 23 years on the job. She stepped down after allegations of theft.

43-year-old Denise Key is not charged in the case, but she has been questioned by federal agents.

Denise Key says she is no Christmas Grinch and the fact she's now the talk of the town, is hurtful.

Allegations of tampered mail and theft at New Ellenton's Post Office.

"We've actually got them where they'd be wide open." says customer Mickey.

Ruth Wilson agrees. " I've had several letters opened and resealed. My social security card was not in it and now I have to call the social security board about it, but all my other paper work was in there."

These are just some of the complaints from the post office. Employees say it's been a problem for quite awhile.

"This time of the year, nothing is impossible." says customer Edna Kissiah.

"It concerns me, especially with all this identity theft going on. It makes me angry." adds Wilson.

Federal authorities notified New Ellenton's Police Chief that something may be wrong in November. A day later, they came and questioned Denise Key, a postal carrier for the last 23 years. She resigned that day.

"I feel like all the blame is being put on me, and it's not me. I'm no
Christmas Grinch." says Key. She says she resigned because of the investigation and because of health reasons.

She also says the only mail she ever opened, belonged to her own family. "I opened some mail. My ex husband's and my son's mail. If they want to charge me, fine. They can charge me. I'm guilty of that."

She also says she's aware of the ongoing mail problems at the post office. "I don't want to be the only one blamed in all of this mess. They need to keep investigating and find out that a lot of our problems come from Augusta."

And that's where New Ellenton's customers may be headed as well. Customers like Milton Williams, "I'll carry mine to the post office in Augusta from now on."

News 12 tried calling the US Postal Service Special Agent in charge of this investigation, but our calls were not returned. We are also still waiting to hear back from the Office of Inspector General who is also involved in this investigation.

Key was questioned more than two weeks ago, but she has yet to be charged. She says she told the truth to investigators and they searched her car. Key says she even offered to let them search her house because she says she has nothing to hide.


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  • by lynn Location: south carolina on Nov 3, 2008 at 08:12 PM
    I understand about being harasment at the P.O. and I understand the need for security my car was once looked in by my Postmaster , I was also hurt on the job there are so many regulations and so little time when being a single Mom and my heath was bad also, when it got to the point of my claim because of the swinging doors we pushed our carts out was already reported not in working order and my hand was hurt, he took me in the office close the door and proceded to say I came in that moring complaining of my RA hurting which was a Flat Face LIE and I told him I did not have to stand there and listen to his Lies and tried to go out the door he closed and locked the door which really scared me Iwent pass him and he grabbed my waist and I got to the door and got out, this postmaster had hasrasted me several times in the past but left me along after this, Ithing because I had never filed any greviences againist the prolems I had in the past that I was an easy target, I also I left because H.
  • by Mark Location: New Ellenton on Aug 11, 2008 at 07:39 AM
    The old girl plead guilty to this charge in federal court.
  • by heather Location: cincinnati, ohio on Apr 20, 2008 at 02:46 PM
    i read about the postal carrier accused of theft and my heart goes out to her. i am also a postal carrier being falsely accused of fraud. i have not been charged; however, i have been questioned on two different occasions. i have not resign from the postal service and i have no plans to. i will fight the accusations and will be looking for an attorney to help me. the office of inspector geneeral has disrupted my life and my health. i hope denise was able to find peace, as for me i am still looking. even though, i am innocent i still feel like a prisoner in my home and i am constantly looking over my shoulder everyday. i believe it is terrible to live in fear. i guess that when we accepted a government position we should have been aware we were giving up our basic rights as citizens.
  • by Robbie Location: New Ellenton on Mar 2, 2008 at 10:09 AM
    We always ejoyed denise delivering mail in new ellenton. what is she doing now?
  • by BILLY Location: AIKEN on Feb 29, 2008 at 12:10 AM
    She's not the first person in Aiken County to have been falsely accused of a crime she didn't commit. Maybe this is a wakeup call for us all to stop encouraging law enforcement to run around arresting people just based on an accusation or rumor. We hope she sues for liable and slander. She should contact Mark Hardee, a Columbia lawyer who specializes in this field.
  • by joe on Feb 23, 2008 at 08:44 PM
    You need to check the aiken county detention center records. She was arrested and bonded out. maybe shes lying to you to.
  • by JENNIFER Location: AIKEN on Feb 23, 2008 at 08:59 AM
    WELL IT,S HAPPENED AGAIN. PEOPLE BELIEVE WHAT THEY READ IN THE NEWSPAPER,WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT IS TRUE OR FALSE.DENISE WAS NOT ARRESTED,HAS NEVER BEEN CHARGED OR INDICTED IN THIS ALLEGED CRIME.IMAGINE HOW HER FAMILY FELT WHEN THEY READ THE HEADLINE THAT SHE HAD BEEN ARRESTED.HER ENTIRE FAMILY TRIED DESPERATELY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH HER. SHE WAS NOT IN JAIL..GUESS WHERE SHE WAS? SHE HAD JUST COMPLETED WORKING A 12 HOUR SHIFT AND WENT HOME TO GO TO BED AND GET SOME SLEEP. WHEN SHE WAS TOLD WHAT HAD BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT HER IN THE PAPER, SHE COLLAPSED AND STARTED WEEPING. I KNOW, BECAUSE I,M HER MOTHER AND I WAS THE ONE THAT HAD TO TELL HER ABOUT THE UNTRUE HEADLINE IN THE PAPER.HER TEENAGE SON WAS IN SCHOOL AND A TEACHER PUT THE PAPER UP TO HIS FACE AND SAID ...LOOK WHERE YOUR MOTHER IS.NOW...HE HAD TO STAY IN SCHOOL, THINKING HIS MOM WAS IN JAIL.CAN ANYONE EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND HOW HE FELT? DOES ANYONE EVEN CARE?
  • by Rick Location: New Ellenton on Feb 22, 2008 at 03:14 AM
    You should do a followup interview now that she's resigned, been arrested and indicted by the FEDS.
  • by Karen Location: New Ellenton on Jan 11, 2008 at 04:52 PM
    In the past 20 years, we have never had a problem with items missing from mail that we have sent from or received at the New Ellenton post office (we have a PO box there). However, we have had mail taken from the box on the street in front of our home. Since we live on a dirt road, we can readily see the tracks of footprints to and from our box -- definitely not from the postal delivery person (who delivers from their truck)!
  • by Mark Location: Aiken County on Dec 26, 2007 at 04:39 AM
    She's always been a nosey one, that's why she worked for the post office. She liked to get into other people's business.
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