LAPORTE, Ind. (AP) — A former Indiana mail carrier has been accused of paying someone to dispose 11,000 pieces of mail and hiding another 6,000 in his home.
Kristopher Block, 39, was charged Tuesday in LaPorte Circuit Court with felony official misconduct and misdemeanor theft. A judge issued a warrant for Block's arrest, but online jail records indicate he's yet to be taken into custody. His bond will be set at $7,500, according to court records.
The U.S. Postal Service began an investigation when a Berrien County sheriff's deputy discovered multiple tubs of undelivered mail in a Michigan ravine last year. The letters originated from the LaPorte Post Office, where Block was the assigned mail carrier, court documents said. Some letters dated back to August 2016.
LaPorte resident Wally Bass said his mail used to regularly go missing.
"At least two to three times a week, we wouldn't get no mail and I knew that we had mail that was supposed to come, bills and different stuff," Bass said. He eventually purchased a P.O. box to ensure he would receive his mail.
Block told authorities he took mail home in 2016-17 when he couldn't deliver it by the end of his shift. He would also routinely pay a friend to burn the letters, according to court records. It's unclear whether any of the mail was actually destroyed.
Block started working at the post office in 2015 and resigned in February 2017.
Authorities have yet to locate Block's accomplice, who hasn't been formally charged with a crime, records said.
The U.S. Postal Service released a statement that said the alleged behavior isn't tolerated and betrays the "trust of the American people."