ALBANY -- A former Albany postal employee admitted this past week to taking more than $50,000 worth of items from the mail, U.S. Attorney's officials said.
John R. Elbayeh, 44, of Albany, pleaded guilty to mail theft Thursday, admitting that he stole iPhones, gold coins, small gold bars and other items from mailed packages while he worked as a postal clerk.
Elbayeh worked as a lead mail processing clerk at the postal service's processing and distribution center in Albany from December 2012 to December 2018, officials said.
He admitted that he took the items over an approximately two-year period preceding December 2018. He then pawned the items for more than $50,000.
Investigators initially interviewed Elbayeh in December 2018. Shortly afterward, he took a one-way flight to Beirut, Lebanon. He then remained outside the United States until Oct. 17, when agents arrested him at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, where he had flown from Egypt. He's been in custody since.
He faces up to five years in prison at his April sentencing.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.