Most of the 17,000 pieces of mail that disappeared — anything from workmans’ comp checks to heating bills — was tossed into a ravine in New Buffalo, Michigan, police said.
That’s where authorities found tub upon tub of discarded Indiana mail in February 2017, the Indianapolis Star reports. Michigan deputies lugged the frozen tubs of standard mail out of the ravine and sent the mail back to where it had originated: a post office about 14 miles away in La Porte, Indiana, according to court records.
The assigned letter carrier for the 11,000 pieces of undelivered mail was Kristopher Block, 39, authorities said. Block has been charged in LaPorte County Circuit Court with felony official misconduct and misdemeanor for theft, according to court records. There’s now a warrant for Block’s arrest, WLS reports.
Once authorities started investigating, they realized the estimated 11,000 pieces of mail dumped in Michigan weren’t the only mail Block had discarded, the South Bend Tribune reports. Block had also been bringing home mail that he didn’t have time to deliver during his shift, and getting a friend to burn it on a “regular basis” for $50 a bundle, court records said.
Block worked for the U.S. Postal Service in La Porte from 2015 to 2017, WSBT reports. From late 2016 to early 2017, Block failed to deliver around 17,000 piece of mail during a half-year window, court records said. Some of the mail, about 6,000 pieces, was recovered at Block’s home.
At first, Block denied that he had gotten rid of the mail, court records said. But then authorities put 150 pieces of the discarded mail they’d found in front of him, the Star reports. Then Block told them: “Looks like I’m going to jail.”
Block resigned from his letter carrier post after he had been interviewed by the U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general’s office, the agency told WLS.
“The vast majority of U.S. Postal Service personnel are dedicated, hard-working public servants dedicated to moving mail to its proper destination,” Jeff Arney, a spokesman for the inspector general’s office, told the TV station. He added that “[t]his type of alleged behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated.”
Block’s resignation was Feb. 7, 2017, the Star reports — the same month the tubs were found in the Michigan ravine.
Wally Bass, a local, told WSBT that he’s had everything from bills to workman’s comp checks go missing.
“At least two to three times a week we wouldn’t get no mail and I knew that we had mail that was supposed to come, bills and different stuff,” Bass told the TV station.“It’s a crapshoot whether you are going to get your mail or not. Finally we just got tired of it and we got a P.O. box.”
Bass told WSBT that he hopes now he can stop paying for the P.O. box.