ECU employee accused of stealing students' mail

Police: at least 300 victims

ECU employee accused of stealing students' mail (Reporter:Amanda Brannon)

An East Carolina University employee was arrested for allegedly stealing money and other items from the mail of hundreds of students and staff.

ECU Police arrested Iris J. Harper at about 1 p.m. Friday, and charged her with embezzlement of state property by a public employee.

Police said they began their investigation in Sept. 2012, when they received complaints that mail sent to ECU students were not being received. According to officers, mail intended for at least 300 recipients, containing mostly cash and gift cards, did not make it to those people.

Police said Harper, who worked at University Mail Services on Founder's Drive, was responsible for the thefts. At this time, authorities do not believe anyone else was involved.

"The investigation shows she left when other employees left at the end of the day. And then returned after the office was cleared out and that's when she was looking for the mail items. So, this was happening after hours," Lieutenant Chris Sutton, of ECU police, said.

Brittany Case, an ECU freshman, said this same scenario has happened to her as well. She said she never received a package containing a pair of headphones that she had ordered. It is unclear if the missing headphones though are linked to this case.

"It's kinda almost shocking because I come [to the mail room] a lot and the people seem really nice. You just trust them and you don't expect that to happen especially on the college campus," Case said.

Harper was removed from the mail room. But at last check, she was still employed at ECU, where she had worked since April 16, 1991.

She was jailed under a $15,000 bond. She has since been released and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, Feb. 4.

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