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At last, deed brings stamp of approval

Published: Wed, September 22, 2010 @ 12:06 a.m.


Susan McAfee of Poland Township shows a roll of stamps she found outside the Poland post office. She returned them Tuesday.

By Ashley Luthern



A lost-and-found situation at the post office led township police to the home of a 75-year-old woman Tuesday morning.

On Monday night, Susan McAfee of Forest Hill, found a roll of stamps outside the closed post office.

“In the morning I thought, ‘I can’t keep them,’ but also, ‘Somebody’s paid for them; why should the post office get them back?’” McAfee said.

She called the post office to say that if anyone came there looking for a lost item, postal employees could give out her phone number.

The problem, however, was that McAfee refused to tell the employee what she had found.

“When the employee said, ‘Can you describe it?’ she only said, ‘It’s very valuable,’” said Tad Kelley, acting spokesman for the Postal Service’s Northern Ohio District.

Kelley said the post- office supervisor explained that he couldn’t give out her phone number because of the high volume of calls the post office gets about lost items.

“And then she told him, ‘If nobody calls, then I’m keeping it,’” Kelley said.

The supervisor called Poland Township police, and officers confirmed that a patrolman did go to McAfee’s home and she refused to give any information.

McAfee said she was shocked to see an officer on her doorstep.

“I nearly dropped dead. I was hysterical. Nothing like that has happened before,” she said. “... This is getting way out of hand.”

So McAfee decided to return the roll of stamps to the post office Tuesday afternoon.

“We do need to be cautious about anything of value and the security of the post office itself,” Kelley said. “It worked out that the person who did lose the roll got it back.”

When individuals find items at the post office, they should notify post-office employees, he added.

“Our employees are going to make sure that it gets back to their hands. We want the rightful customer to have it,” he said. “This is just a misunderstanding. The long and short of it is that we do thank that person for finding it.”

McAfee said she still feels as though she was “strong-armed” in the whole situation.

“Someone told me that I should have tucked it in my purse and gone on my merry way,” she said. “I did the right thing and it ruined my whole day.”


1lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

This is what happens when Govt. gets to big. REMEMBER NOVEMBER

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2valleygal(24 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I was once "strong-armed" by the post office too and had a police officer appear on my doorstep and threaten me. I was given no opportunity to defend myself for simply asking questions (in a very polite manner I might add!) of a postal employee. I thought that in this country, we were innocent until proven guilty, but that day I found out otherwise! I think that the post office overreacted with Ms. McAfee (as well as with me.)

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3sunny1(2 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

lee and valleygal, are you serious? Ms. McAfee called the post office to say she found something "very valuable". (It could have been someones diamond ring, an envelope w/$5000) then after refusing to tell said employee she stated she was going to keep it. Regardless of what the item was, it was not hers to keep. The post office is responsible for getting mail/packages to its rightful owner. She was wrong not to state what it was that she had. Picking something up off of the ground at the post office and taking it home w/you is stealing, plain and simple. It was right to notify the police, otherwise Ms. McAfee would still be threatening the post office with keeping her "valuable item"

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4Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I would say Ms. McAfee feels the same way I might feel....if I just hand this to an employee, that person MIGHT keep it and the rightful owner might show up, ask about the item and still not get it. And in today's society, that is more apt to happen than in the past. Ms. McAfee KNEW she was honest. Yes, she should have said she found some postage stamps rather than something 'very valuable' but...ah, the but in our world....would she have been told to just turn the stamps in or would it have been a finder's keeper situation? Did Ms. McAfee learn a lesson to just take her findings and keep it?
When my son was in maybe 5th grade, he found $5. He did the honest thing; he turned it in to the school office. But...there that word is again...he told his friends what he did. One of those friends went to the office and said he lost $5. That incident soured my son in ever again being THAT honest. I told him he did the right thing but still his mind about honesty took a hit!!! What would have happened if it had been a $5,000 amount of money or a huge diamond ring? Probably someone would have put an ad in the paper for such a valuable item. We must remember the post office is a federal business and they do have the backing of the federal power. Was this situation blown out of proportion? Yes, it was. Should Ms. McAfee admitted that it was just postage stamps? Yes, she should have. Should she have been told to turn them in to the postal dept? No. To say it was stealing is not true, Sunny, It is not plain and simple. Turning in something valuable might end up handing it to a dishonest person. And no one would be the wiser. It is sad that we live in a society where trust of those we don't really know is a fact. I know I am honest, but I don't know if someone else is honest. THAT is a plain and simple fact. The situation did get blown out of proportion in the long run. Ms. McAfee had the right to tell someone she would keep the item, but she should have said it was merely postage stamps and been told they would be glad to let someone know if they showed up. But there again, maybe the employee would have had someone else show up and say they lost the item, as happened in my son's case. So everything is not plain and simple or always black or white.

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5nojimbo(286 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Ms. McAfee got just just what she wanted out of this, a front page story in the Vindicator. Like a little child, this 75 year old wanted to be cute. "I found something but I'm not going to tell you what it is". Give me a break!

About 10 years ago I was on the National Mall in Washington DC for a Smithsonian Festival. I found a fairly fat wallet laying on the ground. I picked it up and without opening it dropped it off at the nearest Information booth. I didn't want to know how much money might be in it because I didn't want to be tempted.

My advice to Ms. McAfee is next time to do the right thing immediately and return any lost item that isn't yours. That way you can avoid the drama of sitting on the ethical fence and the unintended consequences you might face.

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6sunny1(2 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

stormieangel, I understand that handing over a lost item and wondering if the person you hand it to will be honest and do the right thing can be difficult. However, postal employees are entrusted to deliver packages, cards etc. and that is part of their job-to get it where it belongs. DAILY. Not to pocket it. Think of all the valuables that go through the post ofice, whether through carriers or clerks at the window. If she said, I found stamps, and no one called to claim them(w/a receipt) maybe she would have been able to keep them, or she could have brought them in to a clerk. I doubt they are going to risk losing their job over a roll of stamps, when they are surrounded by them all day long. McAfee is blowing this out of proportion, I can't believe the vindicator would even waste paper/ink for this story.

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7igotsomethintosay(31 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

She got strong armed? Those of you who agree w/ this woman are just as sick in the head! IT WAS A ROLL OF STAMPS! Why couldnt she tell the post office or the officer what it was instead of saying it was something very valuable and refusing to turn it in herself? If she is refusing b/c she was afraid the post office or the officer would keep it, you would think it was an engagement ring or a kidney! She made a big deal about nothing, and once again the Vindy is filling its pages w/ the same old nothing, exact reason why i stopped paying for it!

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