A post office employee in the town of Temple was issued a summons Thursday for allegedly opening incoming and outgoing mail, taking cash or a gift card, and disposing of the mail if it contained a check.

Amanda Wentzell, 25, of Temple was summoned on charges of theft by unauthorized taking and misuses of identification. Both are Class D crimes punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. She admitted to the crimes when she was interviewed at the post office by Detective Ken Charles of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Scott Nichols said in a statement.

The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing, and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service has been informed of the investigation, Nichols said. The sheriff’s office asks that anyone who believes he or she is a victim of the alleged postal crimes to call Charles at 778-2680.

After receiving a complaint from a Temple resident in early July that outgoing mail – which contained a gift card – had not reached its destination, Charles launched an investigation and discovered that Wentzell had activated the card.

When she was interviewed Thursday, Wentzell admitted the theft as well as seven other thefts involving small amounts of cash and other gift cards, Nichols’ statement said.

Wentzell told Charles that when she had opened mail hoping to find cash or a gift card and found a check, “it was her practice” to throw away the check rather than placing it back in the mail.

It is not yet known how much money and how many gift cards Wentzell allegedly got through this process, Nichols said. The missing gift card that spurred the investigation was worth $100.

Last year, a former East Vassalboro postal worker was sentenced to three months in federal prison for stealing mail and embezzling postal money orders. In that case, Jason K. Stockmar of Augusta stole 25 to 30 pieces of customer mail, taking cash, checks and gift cards.

Lauren Abbate can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

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Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate