Sean Troesch, 48, of Pittsburgh, a mail carrier who worked out of Mount Oliver, admitted that trash bags found in front of his house contained mail he was supposed to deliver, according to court documents.
Special agents with the USPS Office of Inspector General, a law enforcement agency, went to Troesch’s house after a tipster reported the man had placed nine trash bags out on the curb for pickup by a trash truck.
Troesch initially said only one of the bags contained mail, but ultimately acknowledged that all of them did.
“Troesch told investigators that the mail had been intended for delivery on his route, and acknowledged that it was wrong to throw mail into the trash,” the office of U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.
Agents inventoried the mail recovered from the trash bags and the mail carrier’s vehicle. Over 1,600 pieces of mail were counted. One mail-in ballot request form, but no actual ballots, was among the seized mail.
Neighbors had said that Troesch was discarding mail on a regular basis.
Troesch was charged with delay or destruction of mail by a postal employee, as was James McLenigan, 29, also of Pittsburgh.
According to a criminal complaint, McLenigan worked out of a Pittsburgh USPS office.
An employee of the Persad Center told a USPS agent on Oct. 8 that he or she recovered mail from a trash bin outside of their office. Surveillance video from the center captured a mail carrier throwing mail into a trash bin.
The approximately 100 pieces of mail did not contain any mail-in ballots. It did contain one request for a mail-in ballot.
Investigators interviewed McLenigan and he admitted to discarding mail intended for delivery into multiple trash cans.
“He estimated that he discarded mail intended for delivery into a trash can that day, Oct. 8, 2020, and acknowledged that it was wrong to do so,” Brady’s office said.
Neither man had lawyers listed on a federal court database.
They each face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
“During this election season, the integrity of the mails is more important than ever,” Brady said in a statement. “When any public employee, including a mail carrier, violates the law, we will respond quickly. These carriers each attempted to destroy mail, including both political advertisements and an application for a mail-in ballot. Anyone who would obstruct or delay United States mail that includes election-related materials should know that the Department of Justice will take quick, efficient action against them.”
Kenneth Cleevely, special agent in charge of the USPS Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Eastern Area Field Office, said that the “vast majority of the Postal Service’s 630,000 employees are trustworthy, dedicated individuals working around the clock to deliver the nation’s mail.”
“However, when one of those employees decide to violate the trust placed in them, Special Agents with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General will conduct a thorough investigation, and seek criminal prosecution and termination of employment when appropriate,” he added, encouraging people who witness wrongdoing to report to the OIG.