Madison, WI (WXOW) - A Melrose man is convicted of removing items from mail and failing to deliver mail.
Fifty-year-old Robert Ernstes was sentenced Wednesday to 10-months in prison. The prison term will be followed by a three-year period of supervised release.
In February 2011, a postal customer reported that he mailed eight greeting cards containing $2 bills to his grandchildren. Some of the cards were opened and the $2 bills were missing. Based on the address from which the cards were mailed, it was determined that Ernstes was the carrier that covered that route.
Based on complaints about Ernstes, a piece of test mail was put into the system on May 2, 2011. Ernstes took this piece of mail home with him and agents ultimately ended up searching his car, home, and garage and found approximately 9,000 pieces of mail that Ernstes had stolen, dating back to November 2008.
The vast majority of mail was discovered intact although some pieces had been opened.
In sentencing Ernstes, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb noted that Ernstes was hired into a position of trust and the idea that someone was taking letters that a citizen wrote was abhorrent. She also noted that it appeared the defendant was motivated by greed and a desire for a better lifestyle.
The charges against Ernstes were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.