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Mail carrier accused in ATM theft from soldier

A city mail carrier was charged Wednesday with stealing a military ATM card from a serviceman who was set to leave today for Iraq and making nearly $4,000 in withdrawals.

Michael D. Turk, 39, of Norwalk Avenue in Buffalo, was taken off his route and questioned Tuesday by Lockport detectives. He turned himself in Wednesday morning and was charged with felony grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud.

Detective John Yotter, who led the investigation, said the soldier, in his early 20s, lived in Pendleton but was having his mail delivered to his brother on Prentice Street.

"The victim found out that his card had been used 12 times in early October when he received his statement," Yotter said.

Turk was caught on camera withdrawning a total of $3,700, at locations in Lockport and the Town of Lockport, Yotter said. The soldier and his brother identified Turk, he added.

"He was looking right at the cameras," said Yotter.

Capt. Lawrence M. Eggert, chief of detectives, said the two had been a big help in the investigation and had pointed to the mail carrier as the suspect.

Both Yotter and Eggert said Turk had confessed, but said they were unable to find out why he had risked his job.

"We can't uncover any reason why," Yotter said. "It may have just been a crime of opportunity."

Yotter said Turk, who had worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 12 years, had resigned Wednesday after being interviewed by postal officials.

Yotter said Lockport police had alerted the Postal Service to the case.

Turk pleaded not guilty in City Court and was released on his own recognizance.

He was scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing next Wednesday.


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