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A New York postal carrier is accused of hoarding 40,000 pieces of mail in his apartment, car, and post office locker.
Joseph Brucato, 67, admitted that he had been hoarding the undelivered mail since 2005, reports the New York Post. It took postal agents five hours to remove more than 2,500 pounds of mail that Brucato had squirreled away, including letters, magazines, and coupon books.
How did authorities discover Brucato's stash, and what kind of charges might he now face?
After almost a decade of hoarding mail, it wasn't until Brucato's supervisor spotted what appeared to be undelivered mail in Brucato's personal vehicle that postal authorities suspected anything, Reuters reports.
After being questioned, Brucato admitted that the mail in his car had been there for six months. He said he often failed to deliver mail on his route "for various personal reasons," according to the complaint filed against Brucato in federal court Wednesday.
Under the U.S. Code, a Postal Service officer or employee who "unlawfully secretes, destroys, detains, delays, or opens any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail entrusted to him or which shall come into his possession, and which was intended to be conveyed by mail, or carried or delivered by any carrier or other employee of the Postal Service" is subject to a criminal penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.
Prosecutors now have up to 30 days to file formal criminal charges against Brucato. In the meantime, he was released on his own recognizance -- though the judge did order that Brucato "abstain from excessive alcohol consumption" as a condition of his release, reports the Post.
As for the mail that Brucato had stashed away, the Postal Service said it plans to finally deliver it.
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