South Hill mechanic helps bust suspected mail thief

South Hill mechanic helps bust suspected mail thief

SPOKANE, Wash. - A South Hill mechanic is being credited with busting a mail carrier suspected of stealing mail for months from people on her route.

Manito Automotive has been is business for 23 years and Wayne Wold is a mechanic goes the extra mile for his customers. He even vacuums out their cars when they're in for an oil change and that's how he accidentally discovered mail that hadn't been delivered.

When the mail carrier brought in her car to be serviced, Wold made a startling discovery.

"I vacuum every car that comes in here and when I was vacuuming it I was tripping over at least 350, 400 pieces of mail," he said.

Wold saw letters to addressed to some of his customers and even found some of his own undelivered business mail in the back seat.

"And when we were looking at some of them that were being stepped on the dates on them were like three months prior and you gotta figure that's just wrong so I pretty much called down there and let them know about it and it is what it is now," Wold said.

A subsequent search of the carrier's home turned up even more mail, enough to fill two minivans.

Once it was marked as evidence in an ongoing federal investigation, the letters were forwarded to their rightful owners.

"Well I didn't know until I got about four packages from the post office with mail, old mail in it and a letter that said something about it having been stolen," Elinor Enz said.

The letter didn't mention the mail was being stolen by a mail carrier but Manito area residents quickly recognized the suspect.

"She seemed very frail and very elderly, she didn't look like a strong person," Enz said. "It doesn't seem that she did open anything, so in a way I can hardly blame her for chucking it all in a corner."

Enz says the undelivered mail didn't affect her bill paying or credit rating but worries about other customers who may have not gotten an important letter from a loved one. That's why she appreciates a mechanic looking out for their neighborhood's best interest.

"Yes I am, in fact I need an oil change and I think I'm going to take my car over there because I understand the reason he found it is that because he vacuumed out this lady's car after working on it and that's a little unusual these days," Enz said.

The mail carrier is on unpaid leave from the U.S. Postal Service, facing multiple counts of theft and delay of U.S. Mail. A new mail carrier has been assigned to deliver mail in the Manito neighborhood.