Some of those who are supposed to endure snow, rain and gloom of night to deliver the mail have resorted to hiding tons of it in garages, a self-storage unit and the dark of their basements.
Carriers from North Dakota to North Carolina have been hauled in recently for hoarding mail. Though the U.S. Postal Service says the offense is rare, it smacks at the agency's image.
"I heard a couple of people come in and say, 'Can I pick up my mail — or is it in storage?'" said Annette Koss, the postmaster in Howell, 50 miles northwest of Detroit. A former carrier there, Jill Hull, pleaded guilty Tuesday to deserting the mail, a misdemeanor.
The part-time, fill-in carrier had kept thousands of pieces of unopened mail, including 988 first-class letters, in a self-storage unit that managers opened in September after she failed to pay her bill. Some of the mail had postmarks from 2005.