Former UPS employee gets probation in theft of package from Urbana hub

Former UPS employee gets probation in theft of package from Urbana hub

URBANA — A Champaign man found guilty of stealing a package from the UPS hub in Urbana where he worked has been sentenced to probation and community service.

Smoothe Rivers, 31, who listed an address in the 700 block of Tawney Court, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge Tom Difanis to felony theft. He was sentenced to six days in jail, which he has already served, 12 months of probation and 75 hours of community service.

As part of the plea agreement, a second count of felony theft was dismissed. In addition, the state's attorney's office agreed not to file a petition to revoke Rivers' probation from a 2017 conviction for criminal trespass to a residence with a person present. Rivers served 91 days in jail in that case.

The theft charges stemmed from a Dec. 13 incident in which Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Curt Apperson said managers at the UPS facility at 2807 N. Lincoln Ave. discovered that Rivers had allegedly taken a package into the men's restroom and opened it.

Rivers was fired that day but returned later and went into the restroom, allegedly to recover items from the package, Apperson said.

That same day, deputies discovered that on his Facebook page, Rivers had posted items for sale, including diamond earrings and new cellphones.

Later, deputies stopped Rivers south of the UPS building as he was walking there to pick up his paycheck and arrested him on an unrelated outstanding warrant in a civil case.

Rivers told the deputy who stopped him that he returned to the business after being fired that Thursday to use the restroom and then found the phones.

Confronted with his Facebook post, Rivers said he had not stolen the phones but that another person at UPS had and he was trying to sell them for that person. Police later found diamond earrings in a search of his home.

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