Mystery USPS Clerk Stole Pagan Woman’s Books Out Of The Mail, Replaced Them With A Hymnal

When a Pagan woman shipped some boxes of her books from Arizona to North Carolina, she got a nasty surprise upon their arrival. Several of her books on Pagan topics had been removed from one box and a hymnal substituted.

Giovanna Sforza had been staying with her mother in Chandler, Arizona. When it came time to return to her home in North Carolina a year later, she ran into a problem. She had acquired more stuff than she could pack (like many Pagans). The solution to her problem, a postal clerk told her, was to pack her books in boxes sold for that specific purpose and mail them home via Media Mail. She took the advice, packed the books, insured them and sent them on their way. She then drove cross-country to her home.

When she went to her local post office to pick up her boxes, something was terribly wrong. Several boxes had been severely damaged. Sforza told The Wild Hunt:

“Six of the eight boxes of books were damaged badly. They had been ripped open along entire sides of the box and the contents obviously had been exposed and put back in the boxes and taped back together by the post office. When I received some of the boxes, there were still entire sides wide open.”

Sforza did what anyone in her position should do: she took photographs of the damaged boxes right there in the post office. She pointed the damage out to the postal clerk, then took the boxes home. Here, she relied on another smart move, checking the contents against a packing list she had made. Comparing the list against the contents of the damaged boxes, she noted that 20 books covering Pagan topics had been removed. Just those. In their place was a brand new Baptist hymnal. The box had been resealed after the switch.

The only place such a theft could have occurred is while the boxes were under the control of the U.S. Post Office. Only postal employees had access to the boxes, Sforza noted:

“Somewhere along the postal route, while in federal Postal Service custody, a box or more broke open, a federal postal employee saw the contents, removed my books, and placed a hymnal inside in their place. Apparently they felt I needed to be singing the praises of Jesus. I do not know how else this could have happened. I am really shocked, because I would presume, that there are cameras at these places?”

Sforza called the USPS to complain of the theft. In an earlier age — less than a decade ago, really — one could call their local post office and speak to the Postmaster. No more. Now all calls go to a central number and most calls are met with indifference. “Go online and fill out a claim,” callers are told. This was Sforza’s experience.

Still, she did fill out a claim (that insurance was another good idea). She is also going to file federal charges. This crime — and it is a felony — had to have been committed by a postal employee. Why this unknown thief would risk prison and a $5,000 fine to proselytize by proxy is curious. But then, rabid Evangelicals aren’t known for their common sense.


Photo Credit: Giovanna Sforza via The Wild Hunt