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Hicksville postal facility raided in criminal probe of workers, officials say

A U.S. Postal Service vehicle repair shop located

A U.S. Postal Service vehicle repair shop located at 109 Ludy St. in Hicksville, shown in August 2011. Credit: Google

A Hicksville postal facility was raided early Friday by U.S. Postal Service special agents in a probe that could lead to criminal charges against some employees, authorities said.

The Hicksville Maintenance Facility, one of two on Long Island that services postal vehicles, has been under investigation since June 2013, based on an employee tip, said London Mulcahy, spokeswoman for the USPS inspector general's office.

In a meeting with employees Friday, the facility's manager said all 10 workers on the 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift -- who do mechanical and body work -- are to be fired for sleeping on the job, according to a worker who attended the meeting.

They covered it up by fabricating reports showing eight hours of work they never did, said the worker, who asked not to be named. "He said by doing that, unsafe vehicles were out on the road," according to the employee, who said the misconduct had been reported several times in recent years to managers.

Mulcahy said no arrests were made. The lead investigator will discuss possible criminal charges with the U.S. attorney's office, she said. Citing the ongoing probe, she declined to provide further details about the investigation.

The postal service's Long Island spokeswoman, Christine Dugas, also declined to provide details, saying only that the agency "has a deep commitment to honoring the public trust."

At the 24-hour maintenance facility on Ludy Street, the misconduct was common knowledge, with graveyard-shift workers often sleeping on bedrolls and blankets in postal trucks or in supervisors' offices, with windows covered by cardboard, the employee said.

The employee said those workers locked the gates with their own chains and locks so others wouldn't catch them sleeping.

They'd position a truck near the gates and hang a baby monitor to watch and hear anyone coming, the worker said.At the meeting Friday, facility manager Robert Kasten told employees that surveillance cameras have been installed, the employee said. Kasten told the workers that investigators took pictures during the raid, then "woke them all up," the employee said. "How sad is that?"

Allegations have not been proven, said Eugene Fata, an official at the Farmingdale-based chapter of the American Postal Workers Union.

With Keith Herbert

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