This week, a postal worker stationed in East Flatbush and Bath Beach was busted for trashing about 2,800 pieces of mail that he never delivered to Brooklyn residents, according to federal authorities.
On April 19, agents from the U.S. Post Service Office of the Inspector General found nine bags stuffed with mail in a dumpster on Empire Boulevard in Crown Heights, one bag containing mail addressed to carrier Vincent Holder Jr.
Three days later, officials found two other mail-stuffed garbage bags at the same site and even more after searching Holder’s home. Most of the mail was addressed to residents and businesses in Brooklyn, some dated back to 2015.
The number of recovered mail — 2,800 items — was “a conservative estimate,” according to court documents.
Investigators traced the bags to Holder Jr., who worked at the Rugby Station post office on Utica Avenue in 2015 and was transferred to Bath Beach station on Benson Avenue in October 2016, according to court reports.
During voluntary questioning, Holder told officials that the found mail was a stash he was keeping in his car dating back to his prior East Flatbush route. Holder, who agreed to speak without an attorney present, said he didn’t deliver the mail “for various personal reasons,” according to reports.
The carrier was released from Brooklyn federal court on Monday, on a $50,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
In cases like this, the found mail is held at the direction of the court, then processed and released back to the postal service to be delivered, said Matthew Modasseri of the USPS Office of Inspector General.
And as of now, Holder is “still an employee of the USPS but isn’t interacting with mail”, he said.
This isn’t the first law-breaking mail carrier to make headlines. In 2014, a Marine Park postal worker was arrested for hoarding 40,000 pieces of mail (equalling 2,500 pounds of mail), but Federal prosecutors dropped criminal charges two years later, reports the New York Daily News.
After a media spotlight on a Flatbush post office dubbed ‘worst in NYC’ last year, a USPS spokesperson told BKLYNER that they’re going to double-down on employee training but many carriers are often overworked.
Some think the postal problems are more systemic, a consequence of surges in development and neighborhood density, and unequal distribution of services. “I frequently go to the post office on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, where there is never a line and it is pleasantly air-conditioned,” said commenter Amanda Schulman Brokaw last year.
In the Flatbush post office we profiled, severe lines snaked around the block (customers brought their own chairs!) and carriers regularly failed to deliver packages.
The Bath Beach post office, where Holder Jr. was employed, sustains a one-star rating on yelp with a laundry list of scathing reviews.