Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark Of Night Shall Keep Me From Stealing a $100 Gift Card

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Steal a single $100 gift card, face five years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Who says we're coddling criminals?

Regina Cochran, 46, faces that penalty when she gets sentenced December 17 for the theft of a Wal-Mart gift card. (She lives in Alvin; Wal-Mart's big there.)

Why so harsh? Cochran was a mail carrier, and she pilfered it rather than deliver it to the person for whom it was intended. That makes it a federal case of mail theft.

"The investigation was triggered by a complaint of missing mail...Agents determined Cochran was assigned to the route responsible for delivery of the customer's missing card and that Cochran had redeemed the card," said Angela Dodge, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston.

Doesn't sound like the world's toughest investigation.

Cochran's sentence will be determined by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal; given the feds' system of mandated minimum sentences, she might indeed do some time. For a $100 Wal-Mart card.

Among the one-time mailmen now shaking their heads in shame: Ace Frehley, John Prine and Cliff Clavin from Cheers.

-- Richard Connelly

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