Knoxville mailman says addiction drove him to steal cash, cards

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge in Knoxville has sentenced a former U.S. Postal Service mail carrier on his guilty plea to stealing cash and gift cards from letters.

Donald J. Fernengel Jr. won't serve prison time, mostly because of his cooperation with investigators and his progress in kicking the pill addiction that fueled the thefts.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Fernengel told U.S. District Court Judge Tom Varlan he filched cash and cards from the mail he was delivering, mostly to University of Tennessee students.

Knoxville police arrested him On Dec. 3, 2011, snorting pills in a mail truck.

Fernengel must repay $2,800 in stolen cash and cards. He's under house arrest at his parents' home in Columbia Station, Ohio, for two months and will be on probation for two years.

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