VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A United States Postal Service employee has pleaded guilty after prosecutors say he stored more than 200 pieces of first and second-class mail and thousands of pieces of advertisement mail in a storage locker in Virginia Beach.
Jason Delacruz pleaded guilty to delay of mail because he took people’s mail and said he couldn’t make time to deliver it all. He said he felt pressure to complete his route.
His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12.
According to a statement of facts filed Nov. 6, 2019, Delacruz started working as a city carrier assistant with the USPS in Chesapeake in June 2018.
On May 29, 2019, a complaint was filed with the USPS Officer of Inspector General (OIG) saying a postal service employee had been seen unloading mail into a public storage facility in Virginia beach.
The complainant took several images showing the postal employee and their license plate.
The OIG was able to identify Delavruz as the person in the photos, and interviewed him about the allegations.
Delacruz first told agents he didn’t go anywhere after leaving the post office on May 29, but after he was confronted with the information about the storage facility, he admitted he was unloading the mail.
Delacruz said he “can’t make time” and felt “pressured” to complete his route but was unable to do so.
He rented the storage unit for $49 per month just to store the mail he couldn’t deliver, he said.
He said he first started hiding the mail in November of December 2018, then rented the storage unit in February 2019.
Delacruz said “he first intended to deliver the mail when he found time, but fell behind and was never able to.”
He then allowed OIG agents to look through his personal vehicle and the storage unit.
Officers found 17 bundles of advertisement mail dated between January and May 2019.
There were also 97 pieces of first-class mail including correspondence from the Department of Motor Vehicles, insurance companies, the IRS, bank statements, and other tax return documents.
There were 115 pieces of pre-sorted and second-class mail such as magazines and other publications.
There were also about 4,723 pieces of other assorted advertisement mail, as well as an undelivered package and six bundles of advertisement/coupon mail from RetailMeNot Company.
The USPS ultimately delivered all the first-class mail, but the advertisement mail was not delivered in a timely manner and therefore thrown away.