SAN ANTONIO -

A KSAT 12 Defenders investigation into criminal acts committed by U.S. Postal Service employees in the San Antonio area turned up everything from theft to mail being thrown away.

The U.S. Postal Service has investigated dozens of allegations of wrongdoing by San Antonio postal employees over the past few years.

Kenneth Smith, special agent with the Officer of Inspector General, said each is taken seriously.

"If such evidence is uncovered that we determine that an individual has committed some sort of fraud or theft, then we pursue that all the way through to conviction," Smith said.

There were several investigations of stamp shortages, one to the tune of $21,260.62.

In that case, the employee failed to enter the sale of stamps and was seen removing cash from his cash drawer. That employee denied taking the cash.

Other investigations involved missing parcels and an employee who may have been opening mail.

In that one, investigators found the employee intentionally removed and concealed U.S. Postal Service property and lied to investigators.

Another complaint filed by the public was that a letter carrier was in possession of narcotics and attempting to distribute them on his route. That case was unfounded.

"I've seen postal employees with 20, 25, 30 years throw their careers away for next to nothing," Smith said.

One carrier also admitted to throwing away advertisement flyers. Another carrier was found to have thrown away the mail in trash cans and another carrier's mailings were found in a dumpster.

An overall analysis of the San Antonio area shows there is no more crime in the postal service here than anywhere else in the country.

In fact, most postal workers are honest and hardworking. And some allegations are false.

One customer reported a Home Depot gift card may have been stolen, but video from Home Depot surveillance cameras showed the intended addressee using it to purchase certain items.

Out of 550,000 postal employees, investigations last year resulted in 640 convictions.

Smith said that adds up to just a tenth of one percent.

But he added that a charge of mail theft can result in up to five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.