Nearly 2K pieces of WO mail found behind dumpster

Photo Courtesy of David Wildstein
Mail that was supposed to be delivered to homes in West Orange was found behind a dumpster. The mail, which has since been delivered, included 99 vote-by-mail ballots.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Mail that was addressed to be delivered to residents in West Orange was found in and behind dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced on Oct. 7. A mail carrier from Kearney, Nicholas Beauchene, was arrested and charged with one count of delay, secretion or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office on Oct. 7, 1,875 pieces of mail were recovered.

In an email to the West Orange Chronicle on Oct. 8, Public Affairs Officer Matthew Reilley, of the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs, said the government stated that, “Evidence at this time does not indicate the defendant’s actions were politically motivated.” The dumped mail included 627 pieces of first class, 873 pieces of standard class and two pieces of certified mail. Election material was also recovered: 99 general-election ballots were included, along with 276 campaign flyers from West Orange Township Council and West Orange Board of Education candidates.

According to West Orange Police Lt. John Rolli in an email to the Chronicle on Oct. 8, the mail was photocopied for evidence and then put back into the postal system. The mail has since been delivered to all of the West Orange recipients, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Rolli said the investigation is being handled by the USPS Office of Inspector General. When asked for comment, Ebelise Adames, the assistant special agent in charge at the USPS, deferred back to the U.S. Attorney’s office in an email to the Chronicle on Oct. 9.

West Orange public information officer Joe Fagan had no additional updates.

The ballots are still valid, according to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin in an email to the Chronicle on Oct. 8.

“As far as we know, everything was put back into the system and we were advised that everything was delivered,” Mayor Robert Parisi said in a phone interview with the Chronicle on Oct. 12. “We found out about it from the media, so it would have been nice if we were told about it. But the Postal Service has said it was delivered, and we’re basing our knowledge on that.”