- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

Two former mail screeners accused of stealing cash and travelers' checks from a White House mail facility had been convicted of felonies in Pennsylvania before they were hired to decontaminate the facility of anthrax spores, federal court records show.
Dane Christopher Coleman, 29, of Upper Darby, Pa., is on probation and parole for 1994 robbery convictions in Pennsylvania. Vernon Lamont Coleman, 32, of Philadelphia was convicted of drug possession in 1989 and was on parole through January 1999.
The two men, who are not related, are accused of theft of U.S. government property for taking cash from envelopes addressed to Afghanistan Children's Fund and $35,000 worth of travelers' checks mailed to the White House Federal Credit Union.
Dane Coleman was ordered held without bond yesterday because of possible parole violations, and Vernon Coleman was released on $5,000 bond. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the District.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola yesterday ruled that Dane Coleman is a flight risk and a danger to society because he apparently used violence during a robbery.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Interrante said court officials would not have released Dane Coleman on $5,000 bond last week in Pennsylvania if they had known about his criminal record. Defense attorney Sean Grimsley argued that his client is not a flight risk because he voluntarily appeared in court yesterday.
The Washington Times first reported Thursday that the Secret Service arrested the two men Aug. 6, more than two weeks after they had been fired under suspicion of stealing from the anthrax-contaminated White House mail site at Bolling Air Force Base where mail addressed to the White House is screened and X-rayed. Federal agents wore protective suits to guard themselves from anthrax exposure when they raided the men's homes.
Court documents show that the two men were fired July 19 under suspicion of stealing from the White House mail facility. But the Secret Service did not begin investigating the case until July 26, after an investigator for American Express reported that $3,650 worth of traveler's checks stolen from the delivery site had been deposited into Philadelphia banks.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for contracting the companies and doing background checks, a government source close to the investigation said.
A GSA spokeswoman said last night the agency could not comment because the facility is under the authority of the White House.
Scaccia Construction and Environmental Co. of Dickson City, Pa., had been working since June 26 as a subcontractor in the decontamination of the delivery site, which was found to have anthrax spores in October.
Scaccia owner Carlos Scotch told The Times he did not know whether his company told the Secret Service or the FBI that the two men had been fired on suspicion of theft.

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