Lebanon postal worker appears in court

Lebanon postal worker appears in court

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Shane Benson

Seasonal Lebanon Post Office employee Shane Michael Benson, 28, of Aumsville, appeared in Linn County Court on Dec. 16 for a hearing on charges of mail theft.

Benson was arraigned on Dec. 10 for one charge of first-degree theft and 15 charges of mail theft.

The initial press release from LPD stated he was arrested for 41 charges of mail theft.

“We recovered 867 pieces of mail in total,” said LPD detective Justin McCubbins.

It’s unknown how many pieces of mail were stolen, McCubbins said.

Officers found hundreds of pieces of allegedly stolen mail in Benson’s home and vehicle, according to the release.

Ten of the charges list the same victim. All the charges filed against Benson allege that he stole mail on or around Dec. 2.

Benson began working at the Lebanon Post Office on June 1, 2013, said Peter Hass, United States Postal Service corporate communications officer.

McCubbins said police are still working to contact all the victims.

“We have contacted very few victims at this time,” McCubbins said. “As of (Dec. 12), we have sent out most of the mail to be delivered to their intended destinations, and the remaining few pieces of mail were taken back to the senders.”

The Office of the Inspector General will send a letter to the sender of each of those pieces of mail, he said.

“We want to encourage people receiving those letters to fill them out and return them as soon as possible,” McCubbins said. “This will assist in our investigation greatly.”

LPD is still receiving calls on an established victim’s line, McCubbins said.

Benson was allegedly targeting outgoing mail containing cards, McCubbins said.

“We caught him due to a tip and that is all I am able to say,” McCubbins said.

LPD had a piece of mail stolen, McCubbins said.

“We sent a thank you card to a local business,” McCubbins said. “That piece of mail was recovered with the other pieces.”

Police are still filing charges against him, and the state needs more time to process the charges, said deputy district attorney Michael Wynhausen at the Dec. 16 hearing.

Benson’s next court appearance is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 13.

Wynhausen is the prosecuting attorney in this case.

Benson hired attorney Daniel Lounsbury to represent him.

If you believe you are a victim of this mail theft, call the LPD’s dedicated line at 541-451-1751 Extension 4333.

Matt.DeBow@lee.net.

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