MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Joshua P. Copas, 38, Cumberland, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty today to one count of theft of mail while a U.S. Postal Service employee and was sentenced to four years of probation by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson on that count.
In early June 2022, a woman living in Cumberland contacted her local police department to report a stolen Menards rebate check. When she did not receive the check in the mail as expected, she called Menards and learned that the check had been spent without her knowledge. Footage of the transaction showed the check was used by Copas, who was working as a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier at the time.
Further investigation linked Copas to thefts of 30 other Menards rebate checks, all but two of which were to be delivered on his mail route from late March to late May 2022. The collective dollar amount associated with the 31 stolen rebate checks was $4,547.84.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Peterson noted that the harm caused by Copas’ crime is two-fold. He first acknowledged the financial harm caused to the victims in this case, particularly those who lost hundreds of dollars in rebates. He then emphasized the general harm caused to the Postal Service itself. Copas was given a position of trust with the Postal Service and violated that trust. His theft degraded the confidence that the public places in the Postal Service to steadfastly deliver the mail.
Given the severity of the crime, Judge Peterson imposed four years of probation and ordered Copas to pay the full $4,547.84 in restitution to the victims.
The charge against Copas was the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Cumberland Police Department, and Rice Lake Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Marie Boor prosecuted this case.