It's never a good time to get caught with a trunkful of undelivered mail if you're a USPS worker, but if there's a worst time to enter that particular legal battle, well, now would be it.
A Maple Heights woman has been arrested and charged via complaint by the Feds for delaying or destructing the mail, Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman's office announced today. Officers with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General investigated the case.
The 27-year-old mail carrier was arrested while off duty on a separate case by Bedford police, who discovered approximately 335 pieces of undelivered mail in the suspect's trunk.
“Americans depend upon the reliability and security of the U.S. mail, especially during this election season,” U.S Attorney Justin Herdman said in a press release. “Actions by mail carriers and postal employees that violate this trust will result in federal prosecution.”
With many states setting records for absentee ballots during the pandemic, there are ongoing concerns about the Postal Service's ability to efficiently deliver mail — specifically mail-in ballots — during this election season, not to mention court battles already in process or expected in the coming weeks regarding the arrival of those ballots at local boards of elections in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere.
Details on what was found in the car:
The USPS OIG responded to retrieve and inventory the discovered mail. Located and counted among the recovered mail were: one (1) Ohio Secretary of State, Absentee Ballot Application; eighty-eight (88) pre-sorted standard mail from the City of Cleveland Water Department; (32) Dolly Parton book club books (bound and sealed in cellophane); twenty (20) partisan political advertisements; fifteen (15) pieces of Voter Participation Center mail; fourteen (14) General Election mailers from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and more, according to the complaint.
In total, 335 pieces of mail were recovered from the defendant’s vehicle. This mail was intended for delivery to addresses in the city of Cleveland and Bedford. The Absentee Ballot Application was returned to the affected customer and the remainder of the mail was returned to the mail stream.
“The vast majority of the 630,000 postal employees are hard-working, trustworthy individuals who work around the clock to deliver the nation’s mail,” U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely said in the same release. “However, when one of them chooses to violate that trust, special agents with the USPS OIG will investigate and pursue criminal charges and the employee’s removal. To report postal crimes, contact www.USPSOIG.gov or 888-USPSOIG.”