Postal worker arraigned on mail theft, identity theft; police recover 10000 … – The Oregonian

A Portland letter carrier arraigned Friday on accusations of stealing more than 10,000 pieces of mail told authorities after his arrest that he did it to feed his 1-year-old child and his methamphetamine habit.

John Paul Osburn, 32, made his first court appearance in a downtown Justice Center courtroom before Multnomah County Circuit Judge Youlee You on 114 counts of mail theft and 30 counts of identity theft along with a methamphetamine possession count and a weapons charge. He pleaded not guilty and will make his next court appearance on Oct. 6.

Osburn is accused of stealing all classes of mail that he was given to deliver on routes in Northeast and Southeast Portland, said Assistant Special-agent-in-charge John Masters of the Office of Inspector General for the post office. “It a significant amount,” he said.

Among the stolen mail recovered were paychecks, financial statements, medical test results, vehicle registrations, utility bills, legal correspondence “and a letter from the Multnomah County District Attorney,” Kevin Demer, an assistant district attorney, said in a probable cause affidavit.

The recovered mail was postmarked from October 2013 to April 2014 and from ZIP codes 97213, 97266, 97212, 97205, 97215, 97211 and 97233.

A storage unit owner discovered heaps, bags and boxes of mail in a locker that had been rented by Shawna Marie Barrett, 33, Osburn’s girlfriend, authorities said.

The unit was put up for auction when the rent went unpaid and was opened Tuesday. Postal service investigators, with help from the Portland Police Bureau, recovered the mail and other evidence Wednesday and again Thursday.

When agents opened the 5-by-10-foot storage room, it was “filled with mail 5 feet high,” according to court documents. Officials estimated that there were at least 10,000 pieces of stolen mail in the storage unit and in the couple’s apartment.

The mail in the storage room included everything from greeting cards, medicine parcels and business mailings, and most had been opened, according to the probable cause affidavit filed Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Osburn was hired in June 2013 and assigned to the Rose City Park Post Office as a part-time employee; he did not have a dedicated postal route, Masters said. Court records show that he admitted to daily use of methamphetamine and marijuana.

“The USPS OIG considers the allegations of delay, destruction, or theft of any U.S. Mail by any Postal Service employee to be a very serious issue. When such allegations are made, the USPS OIG vigorously investigates those allegations, as we did in this instance,” Masters said in a news release.

Osburn and Barrett were arrested Thursday by Portland police in Southeast Portland in a white Cadillac Escalade. Authorities discovered six credit cards — only two in Osburn’s name — in the car, along with a woman’s passport in a different name than Barrett’s, investigators said. They also found a Postal Service gas credit card and several keys with tags that said “Property of the U.S.P.S.”

The items were separate from more mail in the car. When asked why, Osburn told police so “they could use it escape, like in the movies,” the affidavit said.

They also found a loaded semi-automatic rifle in the Cadillac with one round in the chamber that belonged to Osburn.

According to court documents, Osburn said his post office supervisors “asked him to resign every day” and that he took home all the mail he couldn’t deliver on time so Barrett could open it.

Osburn said he most often took the cash from greeting cards, and that Barrett took the stolen credit cards and used them, according to the affidavit.

He admitted to authorities that he started stealing mail when he was assigned to the Lents Post Office a few months after starting to work there in June 2013, and that he had worked at six or seven post offices in the past year “and that the last mail he took home was on the last day he worked,” the affidavit said.

Osburn was and booked Friday morning into the Justice Center Jail, where he is being held of $727,000 bail.

Barrett was booked and then released, Masters said. She also made her first court appearance Friday and will return in two weeks. The judge told both Osburn and Barrett not to contact each other either in person, on the telephone, through social media or by notes.

Barrett is accused of receipt of stolen mail and identity theft.

According to court records, Barrett was convicted in June 2012 in Grant County on methamphetamine possession. Osburn, who arrested in Grant County on the same day, was acquitted of methamphetamine charges.

Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said Osburn was arrested on accusations of shoplifting this past summer; those charges are pending.

People who had their mail stolen will be notified by agents with the inspector general’s office, Masters said.

Anyone with additional information related the case is asked to the office of the inspector general at 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644) or online.

— Stuart Tomlinson 

Article source: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/09/postal_worker_arraigned_on_mai.html

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