This true story about a French thief is similar—on the surface—to the anecdote described in my recent blog post entitled Lovers lanes for an ex-husband [display].
In the city of Moselle (province of Lorraine), over the last ten years, a middle-aged postman has stolen 13,000 items that he was supposed to deliver. Amazingly, he stored all this stolen mail in his attic, where it was discovered in a more-or-less intact state. The most intriguing aspect of the thief's behavior was his predilection for simple postcards, of the trivial kind that tourists send back home to their loved ones.
Not surprisingly, psychiatrists concluded that the postman was a compulsive kleptomaniac, but he's thought to be totally responsible for his acts. In other words, he's by no means clinically crazy. The postman himself is incapable of explaining objectively why he committed all this theft, but he admits that he has always been fascinated by the kinds of simple family letters and postcards that he stole.
The poor guy is likely to be sent away on a three-year vacation for theft, accompanied by another three years for a fuzzy crime described as "violation of the secrecy of private correspondence". I would have imagined that, in our Internet age—where organizations and individuals are constantly sticking their noses into other people's business—the latter concept would have become somewhat obsolete.
I hope the authorities will give us the guy's address in jail, enabling well-wishers to send him friendly postcards.
This story has a happy ending. The postal authorities are in the process of forwarding all the stolen mail to its rightful receivers. Since we live in the best of all possible worlds, I'm sure that many people will be so thrilled to receive this long-overdue mail that they'll spontaneously dash off a thank-you postcard to the postman.