Postman Allegedly Stole 20,000 Pieces of Mail Over 20 Years

Part-time author accused of taking jewelry, checks, gift cards, and passports.

Hate dealing with mail? Live in Catonsville, a western suburb of Baltimore? Jeffrey L. Shipley, a 20-year mail carrier, felt your pain and tried to lighten it. According to federal authorities, Shipley stole 20,000 pieces of mail during his career, as the Baltimore Sun reported.

Prosecutors said that he "failed to deliver, embezzled and stole" not just junk mail, but letters, cards, magazines, and Netflix videos. (Good thing the company doesn't charge late fees.) He faces a count of mail theft and delaying the mail for each piece. According to Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute, a person can face a fine and/or up to five years imprisonment for a single count. That doesn't take into account any separate state charges.

This isn't the only trouble the state has had with mail thefts. There's been a recent jump in thefts of outgoing mail from homes in Montgomery County, as WRC-TV reported. Thieves look to take checks and convert them to cash.

Catonsville is in Baltimore County and Shipley's alleged crimes aren't just recent. He would have had to steal an average of 1,000 pieces of mail, or almost three pieces a day from his route, to accumulate the total he supposedly had taken since he started working for the U.S. Postal Service in 1993.

Much of what he is charged with having taken could have had significant value. Missing items included checks, jewelry, DVDs, gift cards, and passports, according to the Sun. The top union pay rate for carriers is $58,000 a year.

When it comes to mail theft, others have been grander in their activity. In April, William Morse of Dawson Springs, KY was sentenced to six months in prison and another six months in home detention, as well as $14,808 in restitution for allegedly stealing 44,900 pieces of mail, according to USA Today.

The investigation started in February based on an anonymous telephone tip. In addition, a confidential informant reportedly "had seen large quantities of opened and unopened U.S. Mail not addressed to Shipley" and provided pictures and 23 pieces of the mail not addressed to Shipley, according to a report from Special Agent Steven M. Mason of the Postal Service Inspector General's office. The list of allegedly stolen items ran nine pages.

A cached version of Shipley's own web page suggests that he was an unhappy man:

Growing up, I was certain that I'd be an artist...

I was good, but I didn't apply my talent. Eventually I found myself with two children whom I
adored, and a job I despised. My creative nature was left unfulfilled...

Shipley went on to write short stories that were published in small horror publications and also created his own venture, Unpopular Publications. He even gave talks to other writers.

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Ma Loves Elvis

why did they wait for 20 yrs. I think that's wrong.

June 04 2014 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Foxy Fox

If convicted, life in Leavenworth - no parole.

June 04 2014 at 2:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
the aol experien

Post Office looses 25 million a day, latest reports say. Amtrak received $1.4 billion in subsidies from Congress in 2012. Those will be a drop in the bucket compared to when ObummerCare really gets going.

June 04 2014 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to the aol experien's comment

And what the h--- does that have to do with this story????

June 04 2014 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm a Letter carrier myself, with twenty years service. I'm also an artist and writer. I have not found it a problem to be good at my job and still develop my talents and skills. And because I have been an honest, hardworking mailman, and haven't stolen anything from my customers, I am going to be able to retire soon and enjoy more time painting. If it weren't for my arthritis I'd probably keep walking my route for a few more years because I like my job and my customers like me.. Most letter carriers are exceptionally trustworthy; it's part of the job.

June 04 2014 at 1:06 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Girl!

They're all crooks and USPS just covers for them. I reside in the state of Georgia and had a drunken neighbor who worked for them and when I told him to leave me alone, all of a sudden mail for my family members and I started disappearing, being returned to sender, and/or mis-routed. I reported this for over a year and to this date he is gainfully employed there.

June 04 2014 at 12:58 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hi Girl!'s comment

I love my carrier, he is awesome. You can't condemn everyone because of a few bad apples. And their top pay is around 58k. Not all that much for a lot of areas.

June 05 2014 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

probably ruined the lives of thousands.

June 04 2014 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He had a real job, could have been such a joy to those on his route but chose to be a total nothing-at-all because he was feeling frustrated because he never became an artist . . . what bull crap. Jail time for him will give him plenty of time to be artistic and "fulfill his creative nature." So many people today have no integrity or class or character and don't even know what that is. Ye gads, I hate a thief. Ye gads, I hate a dumbass.

June 04 2014 at 12:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to alspoolhall's comment
Hi Girl!

And do you know what they get paid an hour? On top of benefits - especially if they've been working there for years? Gimmie a break....Oh, no, no let me take out my violin.

June 04 2014 at 12:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hopefully more than 6 months.

June 04 2014 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is more of this than the postal service will admit. I caught my mail carier stealing out going mail and suspected he was stealing inbound magazines. Proved the outbound thefts with identical letters, coded and mailed from home and the post office.
When I presented my proof to the local postal athorities they agreed he was guilty. Said they would take care of it.
Transfered him to a different route. My daughter was on his new route and we caught him stealing again. Again transfered to a different route. He was stealing one inbound magazine a month from each subscriber on his route. He got a full 12 months of over 60 diferent magazines. Lost in mail was the claimed explanation.

June 04 2014 at 12:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to texifish's comment

Try pressing charges with the police or FBI instead of the postal authorities.

June 04 2014 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

F Shipley! Worthless bastard.

June 04 2014 at 12:02 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

How do you cash a check that's not made out to you. Wouldn't that check be just a useless piece of paper???

June 03 2014 at 11:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to P's comment

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