A Eugene, Oregon, postal worker was arrested and charged with failing to deliver 1,000 pieces of mail. Authorities said 27-year-old Alex Douma was required to scan, sort, and deliver mail on his designated route. Instead, he hoarded up to 1,000 pieces of mail — including nearly 30 election ballots.
In July 2014, authorities discovered several United States Postal Service bins on Douma’s front porch. Inside the bins, investigators found numerous stacks of undelivered mail.
In addition to the election ballots, authorities recovered 200 first and standard class mail items, and more than 800 pieces of “junk mail.”
During a police interview, Douma admitted that failed to complete his route on several occasions between April and July 2014. He apologized for his behavior, explaining that he simply “got lazy.”
U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General agent John Masters said “Mr. Douma was required to protect the sanctity and security of U.S. mail entrusted to him.” He further explained that failing to deliver mail is “a very serious matter,” which carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison.
As the postal worker was facing prison time for failing to deliver 1,000 pieces of mail, he consented to a plea agreement. As reported by Register Guard, Douma pleaded guilty to misdemeanor mail obstruction. He was sentenced to one year of probation and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.
During his court appearance, Douma said he had problems completing his route as he often “felt pressured for time.” However, he said he “wasn’t intending on keeping” the mail at his home indefinitely.
Although it is unclear if he was terminated, Douma’s attorney confirmed that he is no longer employed with the United States Postal Service.
In September 2014, a New York City postal worker was charged with a similar crime. Authorities said Joseph Brucato failed to deliver an estimated 40,000 pieces of mail over a period of nine years.
As reported by CBS News, Brucato stored the undelivered mail in his car, his home, and his locker at the post office. Authorities were alerted to the situation when a colleague noticed the stacks of mail inside the postal worker’s personal vehicle.
Representatives with the USPS confirmed that they recovered nearly 2,500 pounds of hoarded mail. Although the letters and flyers will eventually reach their intended recipients, a spokeswoman said she is unsure how long it will take to deliver.
Although the Oregon postal worker avoided jail time, the New York postal worker has not yet been convicted or sentenced. If convicted, Brucato could spend up to five years in prison.
[Image via Gawker]