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A former U.S. Postal Service employee has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of dozens of counts of mail theft from the Price Post Office.

Price police Capt. Bill Barnes said the alleged thefts, primarily of birthday cards containing cash, occurred from October through December of 2015.

"Investigators believed from the beginning the thefts were an 'inside' job," Barnes stated Wednesday.

As reports of the thefts came in, victims also were referred to the local Price Post Office administration. A USPS investigation also is under way, but not yet complete.

Barnes said his investigators got their break late Monday afternoon after receiving a tip about discovery of some stolen birthday cards at the ex-employee's home in Wellington. Working with Wellington police, Price officers went to the residence, where the suspect — Dakota Craig Pierucci, 21 — allegedly confessed after waiving his Miranda rights.

The man turned over more than 20 cards, along with stolen cash, checks and money orders, Barnes said.

Pierucci, who until recently had been employed as mail sorter, was booked into the Carbon County jail in lieu of $9,000 bail, on suspicion of 45 class A misdemeanor counts of mail theft.

Additional charges may be filed, once the USPS completes its own investigation, Barnes said.

Postal officials in Price could not discuss the case, other than to confirm there was an ongoing federal investigation.

Price police asked that anyone who believes he or she was a mail theft victim should call 435-636-3000.

Twitter: @remims

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