Federal authorities wait before charging Pittsburgh postmaster accused of rifling through mail
Federal officials have yet to weigh in on whether they'll charge Pittsburgh's postmaster, who is free on bond since the Allegheny County District Attorney charged him with threatening employees who questioned his opening packages to search for drugs and money.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala charged Daniel Paul Davis, 50, of Canonsburg with official oppression, criminal coercion and witness intimidation. Employees at multiple branch offices reported seeing him open Express Mail packages and inspect the contents.
The federal Office of the Inspector General and detectives from the district attorney's office conducted the investigation. The DA's office brought charges related to the threats.
“We have no idea what happened to the packages or the contents of the packages. Our charges only focus on the intimidation aspect,” Mike Manko, spokesman for Zappala, said Wednesday. “Anything else would be federal jurisdiction.”
Opening mail is a federal offense, but federal officials say they are letting Zappala proceed first.
“The Davis matter was referred to the district attorney's office for prosecution,” said Margaret Philbin, spokeswoman for David J. Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Davis's attorney, Joseph J. Chester, said no federal charges had been filed against Davis as of Wednesday, but he declined to comment further. Davis was released Tuesday on $10,000 unsecured bond.
The Office of the Inspector General referred questions to Zappala's office.
Tad Kelley, spokesman for the Postal Service, said the service “does not comment on personnel matters, including criminal investigations of employees or former employees.”
He declined to say whether Davis, who worked as postmaster in Toledo, Ohio, before being named to the Pittsburgh post in February 2014, is still employed by the Postal Service at its California-Kirkbride facility.
Zappala on Tuesday said Davis targeted Express Mail packages by asking the branch office for packages with specific tracking numbers or by going through the Express Mail bin at the branch.
Davis allegedly used Google or Zillow to see if the mail was being sent to a “bad address,” such as vacant properties or commercial establishments, as a possible drug transaction before taking the packages to his car or an office at the branch to open them. One witness told investigators he saw Davis open a package at the East Liberty post office that contained sealed coffee bags full of drugs that he had another employee report to a postal inspector. Police said Davis later threatened the witness.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412 391 0927 or email@example.com.