Only on 12: Accused post office employee speaks out

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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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