A strange thing started happening in two Rhode Island towns, people wouldn't get their mail delivered for days at a time, and it only seemed to happen when a fill–in carrier worked.
People are talking about more than the heat on Main Street in East Greenwich.
"I didn't get my electric bill, my gas bill, or my phone bill," said business owner Tracy Clement.
"It wasn't when the regular guy was on, it was when the fill in guy was on," explained Stephen DeLisle, owner of East Greenwich Oil.
For at least a month, businesses and residents weren't getting their mail.
"There were a lot of payments that we usually get at the beginning of the month, but never made it here,"said DeLisle.
Word traveled quickly, and soon this bustling street had it figured out. Whenever the fill–in was working, the mail would stop coming.
Clement says, "When we weren't getting the mail, then I did ask the gentlemen who went by, you know I haven't had mail in 3 or 4 days, no you have nothing, and I just thought that was very bizarre."
No one could figure out where the mail was going, until someone saw where it ended up, behind the old Potowomut Elementary School. A neighbor we spoke to says he actually saw a mail carrier pull into this lot and dump bags of mail into the woods.
The neighbor said, "I saw a mail truck pull behind the school, and I saw a gentlemen get out and he threw two or three contractor bags in the woods."
The neighbor didn't want to identify himself, but says he and his wife were eating dinner and saw everything out their window.
"He did it real quick and ran right back into his truck,"the neighbor said.
Federal prosecutors say that mail carrier was Matteo Morelli of Warwick. He used to fill in on routes in East Greenwich and North Kingstown. He's now long off the job, but the damage has been done.
It's cost DeLisle 6,000 in delayed payments and the trust of his customers.
"Right away people think that you lost it, and it's like no we didn't lose it we just never got it," said DeLisle.
Morelli has been indicted on one count of delaying or destroying mail. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.