Mich. carriers hoard mail, steal stamps

Sept. 1, 2009 at 9:22 PM
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DETROIT, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Two Michigan postal workers were nabbed for allegedly hoarding mail and another allegedly stole $19,000 in postage stamps, U.S, Postal Service officials said.

The Detroit Free Press reported federal authorities Monday charged James W. Stempnik Jr., 37, of Clinton Township with mail theft, a felony with a 5-year jail sentence, for holding around 20,200 pieces of undelivered mail in his home, garage and car. Stempnik is an 11-year veteran of the service.

Officials started their investigation after receiving a tip that Stempnik placed a container of mail in his own car outside the Warren post office, an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court said.

"Included in the mail were U.S. Treasury checks, Social Security checks" and "utility bills, as well as court documents," the affidavit states.

The post office delivered the mail to affected residents with explanation letters, said Shannon LaBruyere, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service southeast Michigan district, who added that the reason for Stempnik's alleged actions were unknown.

Jill Hull, 34, a Livingston County carrier, was put on probation in May when investigators discovered she had placed thousands of pieces of mail in a storage facility because she said couldn't keep up with her route.

Also in May, John Auito, 42, a Macomb County postal worker, was charged with the theft of more than $19,000 worth of stamps and selling them online at a discount.

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