Investigators are contacting people they believe were the victims of a postman accused of stealing bagfuls of mail — a fairly straightforward task, apparently, because evidence they've seized has the victims' addresses written on the front.

"U.S. Mail addressed to you was recently found in an opened condition in connection with an active investigation," Special Agent Steven Mason of the postal service inspector general wrote in a letter obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

Earlier this year, agents acting on a tip raided the home of postman Jeffrey L. Shipley and seizing large volumes of mail. In late May he was charged in connection with the theft of about 20,000 pieces of mail and items including Netflix videos, credit cards and other valuables.

Shipley, who had been a postman for more than two decades, was responsible for a route in Catonsville when he was charged. He has not appeared in court to enter a plea and his attorneys could not be reached Saturday.

Shipley was also an amateur writer of horror stories and on one website promoting his work said he had "a job I despised."

The notice sent to potential victims says the envelopes seized are being retained as evidence in the case, but includes a photocopy of the missing packages and asks recipients to contact investigators if they believe any other mail had been tampered with or had gone missing.

The notice also suggests that anyone whose mail was recovered should put a fraud alert on their credit cards for the period covering 2005 to 2014.

"The Postal Service OIG deeply regrets any inconvenience and/or loss you may have suffered as a result of this incident," Mason wrote. "We look forward to addressing your concerns and restoring your confidence in the Postal Service."

iduncan@baltsun.com

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