An “overwhelmed” New York City postal worker stashed more than 17,000 pieces of mail in his home, car and work locker rather than delivering them, authorities said.
Aleksey Germash, 53, a 16-year Postal Service veteran from Brooklyn, was charged on Thursday with knowingly holding onto mail,according to the New York Daily News. Investigators said they found mail in his home, car and work locker that dated back to at least 2005.
Germash’s attorney, federal defender Michelle Gelernt, had no comment when reached by HuffPost.
Germash was “overwhelmed by the amount of mail that he had to deliver,” but said he “made sure to deliver the important mail,” according to a criminal complaint obtained by CNN.
Postal Service investigators found the stash after a tip about a vehicle containing multiple blue mailbags filled with mail. The investigators say they discovered 20 bags of mail — containing about 10,000 letters —inside the vehicle on Wednesday, Pix 11 reports.
Germash’s case has gone viral and is making national news headlines, but it’s not the first time for such a situation. Earlier this month, postal inspectors foundaround 60 bags of undelivered mailat the home of a postal carrier on New York’s Long Island.
A 2008 Slate article exploring the issue of mail carriers hanging onto mail cited numerous similar cases, noting that the phenomenon dates back to at least 1874, when a postman in Rhode Island threw mail into the ocean. According to the article, the cases often involve large quantities junk mail, though in some cases mail carriers have been caught failing to deliver first-class mail as well.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.