PLEASANT GROVE — Most people don't think twice when mailing a letter. The deal has always been if you put the proper postage on it, the government will deliver it to the address you put on the front.
There’s a good chance, though, no one has ever addressed their mail to a Pleasant Grove dumpster.
A Pleasant Grove woman got a big surprise last week when she discovered hundreds, if not thousands of pieces of unopened, undelivered mail dumped inside a dumpster in her neighborhood.
“Oh, I was totally shocked. When I first looked in, I first saw a package on the top, and underneath a big clack rug was all the mail,” said the woman who asked not to be identified because she said she doesn't want the man suspected of trashing the mail to know what she saw.
That man was a mailman.
“I looked outside and saw the mail truck parked by the dumpster and thought it was really odd because our mail had already been delivered for the day by a complete different mail carrier and mail vehicle,” the woman said.
Once he left, she went over and peeked to see what was inside. She saw much more than plastic bags, cardboard, and other trash.
“There was mail from the state of Utah, personal cards, checks, utility bills — and it was addressed to people in Pleasant Grove and the Lindon area,” she said.
She took pictures of the stacks and stacks of mail she took out of the dumpster. Then, she put them in bags and delivered it all back to the Pleasant Grove Post Office.
“One of the guys that talked to me said he has worked there for 36 years and has never seen anything like this before,” she said. “Lots of people in this area have been complaining about missing mail for months. One lady I know is a business owner and she told me she’s been missing mail for up to six months.”
The woman filed a report with the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General. An investigator contacted her and started looking into her claims.
John Masters, an assistant special agent in charge with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Investigations, said an investigation was launched June 10 and a "person of interest" was identified and interviewed.
"That individual is no longer employed by the U.S. Postal Service," Masters said in an email. "Additionally, during the course of the investigation, discarded U.S. mail, consisting of mixed class mail, was recovered and returned to the intended recipients."
He said a report on the findings was turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office on June 13 for consideration of potential federal charges.
Masters also noted that the mail carrier's alleged actions were extremely unusual and not representative of the U.S. Postal Service as a whole.
“I’m happy they’re doing something about it,” said the woman who found the mail. Her grandfather was a mailman and knows how hard he worked to properly deliver the mail.
And how easy it is for one bad apple to damage public trust.
“So, seeing something like this happen, it's pretty upsetting,” she said.