Postal Service fires carrier who threw mail into woods


The Columbia postal carrier who tossed mail into the woods rather than deliver it during Saturday's scorching heat has been fired after just one day on the job, postal authorities said yesterday.

The carrier -- identified only as a 33-year-old female temporary employee -- was hired July 8 and had completed a weeklong orientation.

"Saturday turned out to be her first and only day delivering the route," said Helen Skillman, communications program specialist for the Baltimore district of the U.S. Postal Service. "Carriers simply can't throw away the mail. They're told that over and over in orientation and they're told what to do if they need help. I guess that some people get overwhelmed in new situations."

The U.S. Postal Service fired the carrier late Monday night after postal inspectors finished interviewing her. The inspectors said they believe she tossed all or most of themail from her route into woods near an office complex in Owen Brown village. Temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Saturday in the area. The carrier may face federal mail-abandonment or state theft charges, said Larry Fryer, a postal inspector in Washington. Mr. Fryer said he did not know when that decision would be made.

Meanwhile, the recovered mail -- all bound for the 21044 ZIP code around Cedar Lane and Hickory Ridge Road in Columbia's Hickory Ridge village -- was delivered yesterday, postal officials said.

The mail, more than 500 pieces, weighed more than 50 pounds and included such items as bills, checks, priority and overnight packages, magazines and bulk parcels.

It was found undamaged Sunday afternoon by a man and his sons who were in-line skating in the Woodmere office complex. The mail was next to a lunch spot popular with many Columbia postal carriers.

"We hope we recovered everything and that nothing blew away," Mr. Fryer said. "We believe that we did."

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