Queenstown’s mail theft scandal has spread to other local suburbs.
Undelivered cards, bills, letters and parcels destined for Arrowtown and Lake Hayes Estate residents were discovered by police as they counted bundles of seized mail today.
Hundreds of Fernhill residents have already been affected by the theft, which was allegedly taken over two years by a 32-year-old Frankton woman who worked as a postie for New Zealand Post.
The woman, who has interim name suppression, has been charged with theft and is due to appear in court on December 3.
Police last week found thousands of opened and unopened mail kept at the woman’s home but yesterday discovered more during a search warrant at Queenstown Self Storage in Arrowtown.
The mail at the 1.5m x 1.5m storage facility was kept in suitcases and boxes and includes post meant to go to Arrowtown and Lake Hayes Estate letterboxes.
“It appears she may have relieved that shift for another NZ Post worker,” detective Grant Miller says.
Miller expects about more than 20,000 items will be counted in total.
Queenstown Self Storage owner Brian Chisholm says one small unit was rented by the woman for about 12 months. The monthly fee is $70 – but the woman only paid the initial payments.
Chisholm had been sending the woman invoices once she stopped paying. Police discovered his invoices in amongst the bundles which led to the discovery of the unit, he says.
“From what I gather she didn’t even deliver her own mail to herself. I guess there was no chance of me being able to recover my funds at that stage,” Chisholm says.
“It’s a bizarre thing alright; it doesn’t seem like the actions of a reasonable person.”
NZ Post staff will catalogue unopened mail and distribute it to the rightful addresses, although police are unable to say when that will happen.