Dakota Craig Pierucci entered pleas of not guilty at his arraignment in Seventh District Court Monday. The 21-year old Wellington resident is charged with 48 counts of mail theft, a Class A Misdemeanor.
According to information filed in the case by Price City Attorney Nick Sampinos, the charges stem from incidents that occurred between October 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016 when Pierucci, “knowingly, and with intent to deprive another, did take, destroy, hide or embezzle mail having a value of less than $1,000 or having a value that cannot be ascertained.”
State charges, jury demand
Sampinos said mail theft can be both a federal and a state offense. Federal prosecutors indicated they would be willing to take the case but because of a backlog of complaints involving much larger mail thefts, it would take a lot longer to bring it to a resolution, “so we decided to take it.”
A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Pierucci was arrested by Price and Wellington Police on January 11 in connection with the theft of dozens of birthday or Christmas card thefts while he was employed as a mail sorter at the Price Post Office. At the time of his arrest, Pierucci allegedly confessed to the thefts and turned over additional stolen mail to police.
In addition to the cash that had been stolen, investigators recovered checks, money orders, personal pictures and notes.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for April 25. A bench trial has been tentatively set for May 24, but the defense has indicated it will file a jury demand in the case.