MIDDLETOWN — A mail carrier has been charged with stealing envelopes with prescription medication sent by the Veterans Administration.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said the U.S. Post Office branch in the Belford section of Middletown received several complaints in January from customers, many of whom are members of the military, who did not receive their expected deliveries of medications.

Investigators reviewing security video saw carrier Christopher Donohue, 60, of Leonardo, remove packages from shelves in a holding area for mail on the Belford routes. Donohue, however, was not assigned to deliver mail on those routes, according to Carpenito.

Investigators on Wednesday tried to catch the thief in action by putting a similar envelope with a bottle of inert pills in the Belford routes holding area. Carpenito said that Donohue was seen on surveillance video return to the post office during after hours and then take the package from the holding area to his sorting station.

When police arrested Donohue, they found the envelope and pills in his personal vehicle, Carpenito said.

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Donohue was charged by complaint with theft of mail and made his first court appearance on Thursday.

Payroll records show Donohue had been a mail carrier in Belford since 1979 and was coming up on his 41st anniversary with the U.S. Postal Service on May 19. He earned an annual salary of $65,037.

The charge of theft of mail by postal employee carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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