An Indiana postal worker was charged with theft and official misconduct after allegedly paying a man to throw away 11,000 pieces of mail in another state and hiding another 6,000 pieces of mail at home.
The man, Kristopher Block, was charged in LaPorte Circuit Court with a misdemeanor for theft and a felony for official misconduct.
A warrant for his arrest has been issued, but records indicate that he has not been taken into custody.
Block worked at a post office in the Indiana town of LaPorte between 2015 and 2017. Block resigned from his job in February 2017. That same month, multiple tubs of undelivered mail were found in a ravine in Michigan. The bundles of frozen mail were dug up and transported to the LaPorte Post Office.
An investigation revealed that the mail originated from the LaPorte post office, and Block had been the assigned carrier.
Block reportedly told the police that he took home any mail he couldn’t deliver before the end of his shift and paid a friend $50 per bundle to burn the mail in Michigan.
According to court documents, Block told investigators that he was far behind delivering his route in a timely manner when he first gave up the first bundle to be destroyed. Block told the police that he unloaded the bundles of mail during his lunch break in the summer of 2016.
The charge comes at a time when mail theft is on the rise. More people are opting for alternatives, like mail forwarding services and Amazon Locker, to minimize the risk of theft.
Just one day before the news of Block’s charges, another postal worker in South Carolina was indicted on mail theft. A report from the U.S. Attorney Beth Drake’s office revealed that Tony Maclin was charged with theft of mail by office or employee as part of a seven-count indictment.
According to the release, Maclin is accused of taking gift cards from packages and letters, including an American Express gift card, four Walmart gift cards, a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card and a rewards card. At the time of the thefts, Maclin was working a mail route in Simpsonville, SC.
The case was investigated by Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Service.
Maclin could receive up to a $250,000 fine and/or five years in prison. Indictment charges are accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
Earlier in the month, a postal worker from Long Island faced a felony charge after federal agents seized several bags of undelivered mail from his home in Bellmore, according to federal officials.
The worker, Richard Schaaf, plead not guilty to destruction of mail. Schaff appeared in federal court with his lawyer, who said after the hearing that his client was under “a lot of pressure.”
“If he shows up late, if he shows up with extra mail, the postmaster puts him in front of everyone,” his lawyer said. “It’s not easy working for the U.S. government.”
The man’s arrest came nearly one week after agents from the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General raided his home and found bags of undelivered mail in his backyard.