Crime & Courts

Local postal truck driver guilty of stealing gun parts, laptop from mail

AR-15 rifle
AR-15 rifle Stock photo

He stole more than $6,500 out of the mail including a Lenova laptop computer and pieces to an AR-15 rifle. Now Manuel De La Cruz, a former contract truck driver for the post office in Rose Hill, has admitted to the thefts.

De La Cruz, a 30-year-old Wichitan, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of stealing items from the mail, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release. He’s set for sentencing April 29 and faces up to five years in federal prison plus a fine of up to $250,000.

Prosecutors say at least 19 items - mostly gun parts but also military uniforms and electronics, a compound hunting bow, a safe dehumidifier and a knife - disappeared out of the mail in Butler County between April 30, 2016, and Nov. 25, 2017. De La Cruz was caught and indicted last April.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.