When that trust is betrayed by acts of corruption or dishonesty, unfortunately it erodes the public confidence and taints by association the good reputation of the many hard working, law-abiding men and women performing their duties in the service to society at large.
We give the trust and don’t think about it until…that trust is broken as in the case of the Malden postman who was caught stealing mail out of the blue postal collection boxes he was suppose to deliver mail from. This mailman, a 36-year-old married father of three stole 7689 pieces of mail which included gift cards, iPhones, identity cards, Christmas gifts, laptops, electronic readers and driver’s licenses.
He was arrested after being observed taking mail from depository boxes in Medford and Melrose that were not on his regular route of Malden and Somerville. It’s speculated that he gained access to these boxes with an unauthorized master key. A search of his house revealed 7,689 pieces of mail including parcels, none of which belonged to him or his family with 5156 pieces already opened. The unopened mail was returned to the post office for delivery. According to WHDH-TV he was released on cash bail of $2500 with a GPS tracking device and he has to take random drug test. He is scheduled to appear in the Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on 16 July 2014 on charges of breaking into a depository, larceny over $250 by a single scheme and possession of burglary tools.
Should we feel sorry for him after all he has a wife and three children?
He’s a longtime resident of one of the towns in which he stole from and according to recent reports he claims to have a drug problem which is why he stole the mail to support his habit. Compassion is easier to bestow when you don’t feel so betrayed by the person you thought you could trust. After all he had 5156 (the number of pieces of mail he opened) opportunities to stop himself and make things right; but he didn’t. Neighborhood View has intentionally chosen not to use his name out of sensitivity to his children who are innocent sufferers regardless of their father’s reckless behavior.
Neighborhood View decided to solicit public opinion on the matter and received the following responses:
- Retired mail carrier: “He probably won’t get time (in jail). They’ll probably just fine him and affect his pension. Maybe some community work.”
- Shirley Tarr: “We grew up with federal offenses as the worst possible thing you could do. Now you hear about it all the time. It began with the white collar criminals. It appeared that people were getting away with the crimes. Then the comedy show Seinfeld had a mailman who stole the mail and it was portrayed as funny. Look at the airline baggage thieves. What kind of checking is done when hiring?”
- Malden Traffic officer: “I think it’s good that you write a story about this, I know I would feel bad if it happened to me. I hope that people won’t make fun of other postmen, you can’t blame all just because they wear the same uniform.”
Semi-annual reports to Congress from the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Post Office reveal that millions of pieces of mail get delivered each year by the US Postal Service while the number of thief’s is minute by comparison but not inconsequential. The damage however to the reputation and credibility of honest postal workers is significant.
US postal workers carry the added responsibility or burden depending on how you view things of holding the public trust. This means that honesty is a certainty that goes along with the job. If you can’t cut it for whatever reason you don’t belong in the position, it’s that simple. Let us give a smile and a thank you to all those US Postal workers who continue to do the right thing in carrying out their duties with integrity.
–Marcia Manong & Karen Lynch