Veterans angered over post office drug theft

Jeff Yardley is accused of stealing drugs from the mail.
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David MacAnally/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Military veterans who count on their pain medicine never counted on another man in uniform stealing it.

13 Investigates broke the story Monday of an Indianapolis postal worker charged with stealing powerful mail-order drugs right out of the mail. Now, the victims of that alleged crime are talking about their pain of not having those pills.

Veterans tell Eyewitness News their medicines come in white envelopes from the Veterans Administration. The suspect, Jeff Yardley, allegedly had no trouble spotting them from their markings and was picky about which ones to steal.

Yardley wore the uniform of a postal worker before his arrest for stealing drugs from mail packages at the post office.

"I was thinking, 'Maybe he just got me. That's good they caught him'," said Robert Sparks.

A few blocks away, Sparks once wore a different kind of uniform once.

"I was in helicopter infantry. We were in ambushes every night," he said.

Between his post-traumatic stress disorder from his tour in Vietnam, bone degeneration and other combat-related health issues, the 62-year-old Sparks counts on his drugs, delivered from the VA by mail, including pain pills.

"I need it bad," he said.

But this winter, his pain meds didn't come, though other medicines did arrive from the VA.

"I could see where someone was tearing it open to read it. I've got several torn open they didn't want," Sparks said.

But someone did want Sparks' hydrocodone pills. When 16 other vets in the area also complained, it sparked a post office sting that turned up Yardley as the alleged thief.

"That's one thing we got from going over, serving the country and everything and for somebody to steal it, that's not right," Sparks said.

Marine veteran Balogun Asin says he was burned aboard a Navy ship and has other service-related health issues, like joint problems, and counts on his Oxycodone.

"We experienced things that we need medication to help us make it through the day," Asin said.

Knowing Yardley is charged with stealing the medicine right out of the post office and selling it on the street through a contact.

"You're taking them from someone who went over there to make sure we have our rights and freedoms here and we need our medication cause we got messed up. That's not fair," said Asin.