The late US Army general Theodore W. Parker famously said, "Who escapes a duty, avoids a gain." Little did Sean Barrett, a 30-year-old US postal worker from New York realize that dereliction of his duty would cost him more than just the loss of a gain. Barrett was arrested and charged on Friday with delay or destruction of mail; over 1,300 pieces of mail.

Barrett, who hails from Sanborn, New York, and began working for United States Postal Service (USPS) in 2016, could face a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, along with a hefty fine of $250,000. He appeared before US Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy of the Western District of New York, and was released on conditions.

Abandoning Over 1300 pieces of Mail

According to the criminal complaint cited by Assistant US Attorney Paul E. Bonanno, in-charge of the case, the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) received a notification from the Lewiston Police Department, NY. The USPS OIG was informed that a witness came upon pieces of USPS mail near a trail in a forested section off Pletcher Road in Youngstown, NY.

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Following the notification from the Lewiston Police Department, the USPS OIG responded to the intimation the next day. Upon reaching the area, three mail bins and two garbage bags containing a total of 1,314 were retrieved. They consisted of 314 first-class, certified, and standard mailings.

Interestingly, the mails also included 15 political mailings, along with one blank election ballot meant to be delivered to an address in Youngstown. Upon further investigation, it was learnt that the mail was destined to an address on the mailing route assigned to Barrett.

Going off-grid

When the USPS records were checked, it was found that the USPS scanner assigned to Barrett had been dormant between 12:20 pm and 3:54 pm on 13 October 2020, in the area where the pieces of mail were recovered from. Also, during the mentioned time period, Barrett's real location could not be identified.

The USPS OIG returned to the location where the discarded mails had been found, on 19 October 2020. During this visit 14 bundles of Western New York Value Papers that had also been abandoned by Barrett were located. An additional 14 bundles of the mentioned value papers were found around 30 yards away.