FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Hundreds of pieces of mail were found in a dumpster behind a Ferguson business Monday night. The man who found them, Jonathan Tremaine Thomas, said he has no idea who did it or why.
He found the mail after going to drop something off in the dumpster behind the coffee shop he is renovating.
“I’d say anywhere from 800 to 1,000. It was a lot of mail," said Thomas.
Thomas said he found a lot more than just junk mail.
“I found IRS notifications, Social Security, paychecks, birthday cards and I realized, especially when I saw, some of those more governmental notices," said Thomas.
He said he called the police, who told him to call Postal Inspection Services.
“They initially advised me to take all the mail and put it in an outgoing mailbox to be recirculated and that’s when I realized if we don’t make some more noise about this, then it could be easily swept under the rug," said Thomas.
Tuesday morning, Thomas said the postal inspectors came to collect the mail and told him this is now being treated as a criminal investigation. For years now, News 4 has been digging into issues surrounding USPS and its delivery issues across the St. Louis region. News 4 called the Postal Service Tuesday to asking about the dumping of mail and ongoing delivery problems. USPS says it is investigating the dumped mail. Thomas said delayed deliveries got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Especially during the COVID era and quarantine, we weren’t getting mail for days and sometimes week on end," said Thomas.
There's new concern mail issues could get worse because the Postal Service plans to consolidate 18 of the country's major mail sorting facilities in November. Among the changes, Cape Girardeau will consolidate with St. Louis. USPS said this change will boost efficiency.
USPS also said:
“Due to the decline in mail volume, USPS will relocate or remove unnecessary letter and flat sorting equipment as appropriate to make space for much needed package processing.”
Thomas is hoping with more people sharing their frustrations with the Postal Service, the system can be improved.
“We can find out where the gaps are, fix the system because that is what is going to make things better," said Thomas.