A Virginia postal worker has pleaded guilty to charges of delay of mail by a postal employee after he was caught with a public storage unit filled with mail he never delivered.
Jason Delacruz, who worked as a city carrier assistant with the U.S. Postal Service at the Chesapeake Main Post Office in Chesapeake, Virginia, since June 2018, told authorities that he felt “pressured” and was unable to “make time” to complete his daily mail route, court documents said.
Delacruz said that beginning in November or December of 2018, he began to hide the leftover mail, until he eventually needed to rent a public storage unit for $49 per month for the “sole purpose of storing mail he could not deliver” in February 2019.
Delacruz told authorities that while he intended to deliver the mail that was stored in the storage unit, he fell behind and was never able to make up his scheduled deliveries. The missing mail was discovered when U.S. Post Office officials received a complaint about a postal service employee who was unloading mail into a public storage unit facility in Virginia Beach.
A witness took photos of Delacruz unloading the mail as well as a photo of Delacruz’s license plate and submitted it to officials.
Agents from the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General discovered nearly 5,000 piece of mail in the storage unit, with 97 pieces of first-class mail that included mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles, insurance companies, the IRS, bank statements and other tax return documents.
Another 115 pieces of pre-sorted and second-class mail, including magazines and other publications were also discovered. The rest was made up of mostly 4,700 other pieces of assorted advertisement mail.
Agents also discovered one undelivered package and six bundles of advertisement coupons from the company “RetailMeNot.”
The Post Office eventually delivered all of the first-class mail, but the advertisement mail was discarded.
“The employee no longer works for the Postal Service,” USPS public relations manager Dave Partenheimer told CNN. “He resigned in 2019 and he worked for 14 months prior to his resignation.”
Delacruz pleaded guilty to delay of mail matter by officer or employee. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on February 12 in federal court.