It’s a long way from Greendale. A depressed, alcoholic New York postman appeared in court last week accused of hoarding more than a tonne of undelivered mail over the past decade.
Joseph Brucato, a Vietnam War veteran who is 67 years old, was arrested on Wednesday after a fellow postal worker spotted stacks of letters and packages in his personal car, a Mitsubishi Galant, which he is not permitted to use for postal deliveries.
Mr Brucato subsequently admitted that he had stashed more letters in his work locker and at the Brooklyn apartment that he shares with his wife and child, where postal investigators later discovered some 40,000 items dating back to at least 2005. Officials put the weight of the trove at 2,500lbs (1.1 tonnes), adding that this was a “conservative estimate”.
According to court documents, Mr Brucato was hired as a postman in 2001 and had been delivering mail along the same Brooklyn route for the past 11 years.
He was not discriminatory in his habits, purloining second-class and special-delivery items alike.
His landlord told the New York Post that it had taken postal agents five hours to remove the accumulated hoard of post from the apartment.
When investigators confronted Mr Brucato, he reportedly confessed that “on some days” he failed to deliver the post on his route “for various personal reasons.” In court, his lawyer said Mr Brucato suffered from depression and alcoholism.
A judge released him pending a court hearing, on condition that he “abstain from excessive alcohol consumption” in the meantime.
Mr Brucato, who has been suspended by the US Postal Service without pay, could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
The Postal Service has said it will attempt to see that the 40,000 undelivered letters finally make it to their intended recipients.
Mr Brucato is not the first New York postie to be caught neglecting his duties.
In March, 24-year-old Patrick Paskett, of Long Island, was arrested for throwing more than 1,000 items of post into rubbish bins along his route so that he wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of delivering them.