WASHINGTON—Millions of Americans and thousands of federal employees awoke Monday to find the national mail service in disarray after a group of rowdy teens on a joyride reportedly destroyed up to 90 percent of the postal service's nationwide infrastructure with a baseball bat.
Citing more than $45 billion in damages from the late-night escapade, the United States Postal Service has suspended all mail delivery and requested relief aid to rebuild more than 650 demolished post offices. The agency is also seeking supplemental funding to clean up the letters, packages, and crushed Budweiser can the teens left in their wake.
"These hooligans have absolutely no respect for property, fellow residents, or their country," Postmaster General John E. Potter said as he picked up pieces of the USPS headquarters that had flown across the street and into a neighboring yard. "This is the third postal service I've had to replace this year."
According to police documents, Potter told investigators he was working late at his office Sunday night when, around 11:30 p.m., he heard the sound of a loud muffler and rock music coming from outside USPS headquarters. Potter said he ran outside to see what was happening, but by the time he arrived the teens were speeding off down a gravel road, giving him only enough time to throw a crab apple at the departing car, which he described as "a rusted-out old Buick."
Authorities have thus far not been able to identify the teens responsible, who remain at large and in serious trouble.
"It's those Murphy twins and their no-good friend Tim Strougle," Potter said while shaking a broom. "What they did was destruction of property, plain and simple. Those kids should know better than to tamper with a federal mail service agency—it's a felony."
Potter went on to argue that the irresponsible teens should have to personally pay the rebuilding costs of his agency's infrastructure, a punishment he believes would "teach them a lesson they won't soon forget."
Added Potter, "Someone's going to have to spend a whole day digging a new hole for that foundation."
Though FBI agents assigned to investigate the nationwide act of vandalism would not comment on any potential leads, they did disclose that the task force has ruled out a number of suspects, including those two Anderson boys from just up on Hoyt Road.
"Sure, they've gotten into trouble in the past, but [their father] Dave [Anderson] set them straight after the shenanigans they pulled last Halloween," said Special Agent Brian Richards, who told reporters the FBI was enlisting the help of municipal law- enforcement agencies and snoopy neighbors from across the country in the investigation. "Nor do we have reason to believe that Shane and Lance McMurray were involved in this terrible crime. They're good boys. Mowed my lawn last summer."
Tampa resident Eric Thompson, 39, was one of countless American citizens outraged by the night of teenage mischief.
"I just don't get it," said Thompson, standing in front of his broken local postal branch. "Why would someone want to ruin a perfectly good post office? Don't they have anything better to do? If this is what kids today do for fun, I don't know what to tell you."
Added Thompson: "Now I'm not going to get my magazines until who knows when."
While many Americans remain convinced that whichever local teens are responsible should be punished to the full extent of the law, some feel the public is overreacting.
"Everyone's getting all riled up over nothing," Attorney General Michael Mukasey said. "The U.S. Postal Service got a little banged up—so what? We did the same thing when we were younger."
"Who knows, maybe old man Barrington ran over the damn things," Mukasey added. "He shouldn't even have a license anymore, he's so darn nearsighted. I wouldn't be surprised if he knocked over all those buildings and didn't even realize he did it."
On Tuesday, the USPS announced they have begun taking extreme measures to prevent further destruction of federal property. As part of the new strategy, beginning next month security officers will take posts in the bushes surrounding USPS facilities in all major cities, and a select number of new offices will be reinforced by constructing a smaller office inside a large post office and filling the middle portion with cement.
"I can't wait for one of those punks to take a swing at one of our mail centers after that," Potter said.
According to FBI records, the destruction of the U.S. Postal Service was the most significant incident of rampaging teens since the entire U.S. Air Force was keyed during the homecoming in 1998.