Officials from the U.S. Office of the Inspector General were in federal court in Pittsburgh Tuesday trying to determine who has been harassing a U.S. Postal Service employee by mailing multiple, anonymous packages of fake poop.
The OIG issued a subpoena in November 2019 to a company called Poopsenders.com, located in the Pittsburgh area, but the company has not replied. The postal employee being harassed is in Michigan.
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania petitioned the U.S. District Court on Tuesday to issue a show-cause order, requiring an attorney or representative from Poopsenders to explain why they have not complied with the subpoena. The OIG is represented by U.S. Attorney Cindy K. Chung and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill L. Locnikar.
Officials from the Postal Inspection Service reported an inappropriate relationship between a supervisor and subordinate in 2019 in Michigan, noting that the supervisor was being “victimized and harassed by multiple means, including receiving a package of imitation feces in the mail.”
Poopsenders’ website advertises its service as the “ultimate gag gift, sweet revenge at its finest,” and guarantees anonymity. Users can choose from a variety of phony feces including cow, elephant and gorilla, or take advantage of the “2021 Happy Turdsgiving Special” for three pounds of “festive holiday” matter.
The website states that it does not disclose customer information. An OIG subpoena served by mail in November 2019 requested records pertaining to any order or items sent to the Grant, Mich., address between Oct. 1-31, 2019. After receiving no response, OIG officials had it served by hand to the person they believe to be in charge of the Poopsenders website, with the same result.
The company’s physical address is unknown, as the company does business through a post office box.
On the Poopsenders website, a legal disclaimer notes that customers may not use the service “to threaten, constitute harassment, violate a legal restraint or any other unlawful purpose.” But the website also suggests sending the fake feces to ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends, a mean boss or because “you just don’t like them.”
As part of the marketing pitch, the website vaguely suggests the product is real — though “only the mad scientist that packs this stuff in the back room knows for sure” — yet concludes by assuring customers that “sending an anonymous, non-hazardous package through the U.S. Postal Service is indeed legal.”
In 2015, an Iowa woman was issued a ticket for third-degree harassment after using the service to send three pounds of fake cow dung to her neighbors in response to their complaints about her barking dog.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .