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Mail-stealing postal worker receives no jail time

Mail carrier Kathleen Benting was charged for stealing hundreds of coupons last year.

GRESHAM POLICE DEPARTMENT - Kathleen Benting will serve 18 months of probation after pleading guilty to one charge of mail theft and one charge of identity theftGresham’s mail-thieving postal woman received no jail time Thursday, June 2, when a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge instead handed out 18 months of probation.

Mail carrier Kathleen Benting was arrested Wednesday, Dec. 9, of last year and charged with three counts of identity theft and five counts of mail theft, all felonies.

The 62-year-old U.S. Postal Service employee was caught in possession of dozens of pieces of mail, and more than 100 more in her car. The stolen mail consisted of coupons for Kohl’s, J.C. Penny, Victoria’s Secret and a variety of tobacco outlets.

Court documents show Benting initially pleaded not guilty to all eight charges. On Thursday, she changed her plea, admitting guilt to one count of identify theft and one count of mail theft.

Judge Gregory F. Silver then dismissed the remaining six charges.

“Based on the nature of the offense, she could benefit from probation,” said Deputy District Attorney Brenda Allen, who represented the state in the case against Benting.

“She has no prior involvement with the criminal justice system. She wasn’t taking financial information and converting it to her own use, which is what we typically see with identify theft,” Allen said.

Benting is prohibited from shopping at Kohl’s or possessing others’ mail or financial information while on probation. She is no longer an employee of the Postal Service

Mail and identity theft are considered Class C felonies in Oregon. Each carries a potential maximum jail sentence of 5 years.