An overwhelmed Long Island postman cracked under the stress of the job — and hid hundreds of pieces of customers’ mail around his home instead of delivering it, authorities and his lawyer said Monday.
“It’s not easy working for the federal government,’’ said Joseph Mure, the lawyer representing alleged rogue mailman Richard A. Schaaf Jr. of Bellmore.
The taskmasters at the US Postal Service put Schaaf and other probationary letter-carriers “in different routes every day. It’s very difficult,’’ Mure said after his client’s brief court appearance in federal court in the Eastern District in Central Islip.
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“Sometimes there are no mailboxes, no names, no addresses, dogs, unfamiliar places.
“You show up 10 minutes late to a job, you get in trouble. If you can’t find an address, you get reprimanded.
“Every day it changes,’’ Mure said. “They put you on the worst route, and then they switch it up. There’s a load of pressure.”
Prosecutors say Schaaf began stashing customers’ mail at his home in March 2017, about a year after taking a job at a post office in Bethpage, and continued his shenanigans until the feds got a tip last week.
Authorities soon found more than 1,000 pieces of mail from residents and businesses in Nassau County in dozens of jumbo black plastic trash bags in and around Schaaf’s home, including stuffed into his backyard shed, authorities said.
The postal worker appeared in court wearing a gray Under Armour hoodie and navy-blue pants and looked sheepish standing before Judge Steven Locke.
“Do you understand that you’re being charged with the destruction of mail?” the judge asked.
Schaaf meekly responded, “Yes, your Honor.”
He pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance on the condition he stay on Long Island or in New York City.
Schaaf was handed back his driver’s license and “various medications” before leaving and hugging his sobbing mother.
The pressure for Schaaf “was crazy,” Mure said, adding that his client is going through a divorce.
“It was just very difficult for him — not just him but anyone.”