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Press Release

Southern Illinois Mail Thief Sentenced to Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

A man who repeatedly stole mail from mailboxes in Southern Illinois is heading to prison. Seth W.
Sorensen, 45, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison and two years of court
supervision after his release. Last December, Sorensen pled guilty in federal court to one count of
mail theft and two counts of possession of stolen mail.
The federal charges stemmed from three separate incidents that occurred over a four-day stretch in
February 2019. On Feb. 23, 2019, a person in Okawville, Illinois watched as Sorensen drove mailbox
to mailbox stealing mail from houses on M&M Lane and R&R Drive. The person immediately reported the
incident to the Okawville Police Department, who quickly identified Sorensen as the primary suspect
and discovered that he had an active warrant for burglary out of Troy, Illinois.

On Feb. 24, 2019, Okawville police went to an apartment where Sorensen was staying and arrested him
on the warrant. During the arrest, officers found a trash bag in Sorensen’s possession that
contained stolen mail belonging to 26 different victims at 19 different residences in Southern
Illinois. Sorensen spent the remainder of February 24 and February 25 in the Madison County Jail.

On Feb. 26, 2019, Sorensen was released from jail. He walked from the jail to an apartment complex
on South Morrison Avenue in Collinsville, Illinois, where a resident noticed him peeking into
mailboxes. The resident eventually confronted Sorensen and grabbed a pile of stolen mail from his
hands. The mail was addressed to multiple people in different units within the complex. At least
one of the letters was addressed to the resident herself. After the confrontation, Sorensen fled
the area on foot. The resident called the Collinsville Police Department.

A  short  time  later,  Collinsville  police  stopped  Sorensen  as  he  was  walking.  Sorensen
identified himself by showing them the discharge paperwork he had received from the Madison County
Jail earlier that morning. Sorensen initially denied looking through any mailboxes at the apartment
 complex  or  having  any  stolen  mail  in  his  possession,  but  the  officers  noticed  mail
hanging  out  of  his  pocket  addressed  to  individuals  on  South  Chestnut  Street  –  the 
very  street Sorensen was  walking down when he  was stopped. When  asked  about the mail in his
pocket, Sorensen said he found the mail in the street and intended to return it but did not know
where the individuals  lived.  Collinsville  police  reminded  Sorensen  that  letters  have 
addresses  on  them.
Sorensen was arrested that evening after a short investigation.

This case was investigated by the Okawville Police Department, the Collinsville Police Department,
and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant
United States Attorney Luke J. Weissler.

Updated April 18, 2023