CHARLOTTE, NC (WSPA) – A former postal carrier in Rutherford and Cleveland Co. has pleaded guilty to detaining and delaying U.S. mail, according to a release from the US Attorney’s office.
A witness saw Gary Wayne Collins, 53, of Forest City, placing several tubs of mail behind a dumpster in Shelby on April 15, 2014, according to court documents.
They witness called the Postmaster and the tubs were recovered.
The Postmaster discovered that the mails addresses were on Collins’ delivery route, according to the report.
Postal agents said Collins told them he never intended to dump any mail and that he left the tubs near the dumpster temporarily.
He told them he intended to return later to pick them up, according to the report.
Investigators say the mail they recovered comprised 1,513 pieces, including 628 pieces of First-Class mail and three parcels.
According to court documents, in May 2014, postal agents discovered more than 1,800 pieces of undelivered mail hidden in Collins’ home and his vehicle.
The undelivered mail included 134 pieces of First-Class mail dating as far back as April 2000, according to the report.
Court records show that postal agents also found additional pieces of undelivered mail inside a partially-collapsed outbuilding located on Collins’ property.
According to those court records, the Postal Service used a backhoe to remove two full-sized dump truck loads of mail from the outbuilding.
That mail could not be salvaged due to extensive weather damage and had to be destroyed.
The press release says Collins admitted that for approximately ten years he had been bringing to his residence the mail that he had not delivered.
Collins pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully destroying, detaining and delaying U.S. mail, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The report says Collins was released on bond following his plea hearing. A sentencing date has not been set yet.