Inspection Service Home Page



November 9, 2011

For further information contact:
Margaret Williams
Public Information Representative
(202) 268-3700


Postal Inspectors to Resume Enforcement As Amnesty Period Expires

Washington, DC – Postal Inspectors today announced that, effective November 26th, they will resume their efforts to recover missing and stolen Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) and also seek prosecution against offenders. The resumption of criminal enforcement comes after the Postal Service offered a two-week amnesty period, encouraging anyone who was in possession of Postal Service equipment to return it – no questions asked.

“Theft of postal equipment is a federal crime. Replacing missing equipment last year cost the Postal Service $50 million -- money that it can ill afford,” said Guy Cottrell, Chief Postal Inspector. Previous efforts to recover MTE and prosecute offenders have been successful.

In 2008, Postal Inspectors launched the Equipment Recovery Project, an effort to return MTE that leaked out of the Postal Service network. Since then, Postal Inspectors have recovered almost 200,000 pieces of MTE, including pallets, trays and tubs, worth more than $4 million. The items were reclaimed from businesses ranging from a New England fish market to California recycling firms; from pallet bounty hunters to major mailers. Criminal prosecution for theft or misuse of postal property, a federal crime that carries a penalty of up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, was also initiated in several cases. Prosecution is pending in a current investigation where Postal Inspectors found approximately 7,500 pallets, valued at over $200,000, at a recycling company.

Individuals who are aware of the misuse of postal equipment are encouraged to contact the Postal Inspection Service at (877.876.2455) or the mail transport equipment recovery hotline (866.330.3404) and email address (