A former postal carrier pleaded guilty to mail theft on Monday, admitting to taking more than 160,000 pieces of mail over a 16-year span.
John Kobitowich entered guilty pleas to theft of mail and refusing to deliver property as a public servant. He will be sentenced in late July.
After the pleas were entered, Judge Jeanne Burch ordered that a pre-sentence report be completed as well as psychiatric and psychological assessments.
Crown prosecutor Jeff Morrison said the huge volume of mail came to light shortly after Kobitowich was evicted from his apartment in the Rivercrest apartment complex.
Cleaning staff went into the apartment and found the huge volume of mail, prompting the building manager to call Canada Post.
After visiting the apartment, a Canada Post inspector contacted the local RCMP.
Inside the apartment were several boxes and bags of mail, as well thousands of letters and advertising mail lying around loose.
Much of the mail was advertising mail, but there were also many addressed letters.
Morrison said the mail in the apartment itself dated back to September 2001. Some pieces were postmarked as recently as last August.
When the Canada Post inspectors tallied it, there were 100,000 items weighing in at 600 kilograms.
After searching the apartment, officers also discovered a storage locker Kobitowich rented, where even more mail was found. Several more boxes were located in a relative’s basement.
The mail from all three locations amounted to more than 160,000 pieces and weighed at least one metric tonne.
Kobitowich was working as a postal carrier the entire time and serviced routes in St. Albert and Edmonton. He stopped working for Canada Post shortly after the mail was discovered.
When the charges were laid in the case, Canada Post began the massive effort of attempting to delver all of the stolen mail.
Teresa Williams, a spokesperson for the corporation, said they did the best they could to get everything back.
“In some cases it went back to the sender, especially if we had a large volume sender who wanted it back and in other cases especially where it was something personal or private, it was sent back to the receiver.”
Williams said she doesn’t know if there were larger thefts of mail, but said this one certainly is among the biggest Canada Post has ever seen.