Someone stole a large sum of money — reportedly $3.7 million — from the U.S. Postal Service depository in Phoenix last week in what investigators say was an inside job.
Federal officials refused to say much more than to acknowledge there had been a theft and to insist that having kept silent about it for more than a week wasn't a cover-up.
Postal Inspector Virgil Moore also wouldn't say how much was taken or who is suspected of taking it.
"We did have a loss. That's about all we're releasing," he said. He said it wasn't a loss of mail but wouldn't go further.
"It's not billions of dollars," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Johns said, but declined to provide other details.
Television station KPNX said $3.7 million was missing.
Moore characterized the robbery as an "internal matter" and said the FBI has not been invited to assist with the investigation.
Suspect or Victim?
Meanwhile, a longtime postal employee, Louis Holley, 52, of Tempe disappeared at the time of the theft and is being sought by authorities, according to family members. Moore wouldn't confirm the name or say whether he was under investigation.
The family fears foul play.
The theft occurred about June 2 at the Postal Service's General Mail Facility, a processing and distribution center through which mail is funnelled in Arizona and revenue taken in by postal stations.
The Arizona Republic said some employees reported being questioned by postal inspectors and being threatened with dismissal if they gave out any information.
The Republic also said that Holley's brother, Michael Holley of Memphis, Tenn., said postal inspectors indicated his brother is a suspect.
"We can't get anything out of the postal inspectors," he told the newspaper. "They immediately centered on my brother as the one who took the money."
Another Big Haul
Michael said Louis and 11 co-workers shared a $3.3 million Arizona Lottery jackpot 14 years ago.
Another brother, David Holley, of Florida, said Louis is "not a high-roller type of guy and doesn't have expensive tastes." He said family members tried to persuade investigators that Louis may have been the victim of foul play but that inspectors seemed to ignore that possibility until recently.
Brother Michael agreed. "We think he was waylaid or kidnapped and forced to turn this money over," he told the East Valley Tribune. "There's foul play involved, his whole family believes that."
Louis Holley went to work for the Postal Service 28 years ago upon leaving the Army after serving in Vietnam. He lived with a fiancee who is employed at another postal station and who remains in Tempe.