July 23, 2014

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Bad address no problem; postmaster just trashed it, police say

HARRISBURG, Ohio (AP) — A former postmaster in this small town just south of Columbus is accused of putting letters in the trash instead of mailboxes, federal authorities said.

Residents told agents Elizabeth Simonian, 49, was frustrated over the addresses on some mail. She was arrested Wednesday on a charge of destruction of mail by a postal employee, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, said Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Columbus.

According to court papers, two residents found 133 pieces of mail in a trash bin behind the post office on May 7.

Fred Eiginger, one of the men who made the discovery, said people in the village began noticing they weren’t getting bills and other mail after Simonian was hired as temporary postmaster in December.

In Harrisburg, the mail is delivered to post office boxes assigned by the post office, and Simonian had complained about letters without the box numbers, Eiginger said Wednesday.

Simonian had told postal agents that she threw away only mail that was undeliverable or had no forwarding address.

The Postal Service fired her July 13, Alverson said.

Simonian appeared in U.S. District Court in Columbus Wednesday and was released without having to post bond.

Simonian, also the elected clerk-treasurer in Harrisburg, did not immediately return a message left Thursday at the village offices. A phone listing at her home address was answered by a fax machine.