It was pot and thievery that did it.
Wright, 57, was caught last year stealing gift cards from dozens of letters sent to residents along his Des Moines-area route. He used stolen cash to buy marijuana, which he then smoked instead of delivering the rest of the mail he was paid to carry.
Wright was fined $500 and sentenced to 60 hours of community service and 2 years of federal probation Wednesday. He will get to keep his U.S. Postal Service pension.
Having pleaded guilty in January to opening and destroying mail, Wright, a 34-year Postal Service employee and an Army veteran, admitted to stealing from countless customers between July 2010 and July 2012. Wright claims he never stole mail before the charged time period.
Wright, a letter carrier assigned to the Des Moines Post Office, searched his mailbags for greeting cards, which he opened and pilfered. He then tore up and tossed away the cards, keeping the intended recipients from receiving even the senders' good wishses.
He was confronted about the thefts on July 26, 2012, and quickly confessed.
In a letter to the court, Wright apologized for his actions, which he described as a "horrific error in judgment" and an anomaly in his otherwise crime-free life.
"As I sit here today I really don't have a reason for the crime I committed other than straight up STUPIDITY, not realizing at the time all of the people I would be hurting," Wright said in the letter.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would ever be in this situation," he continued. "I have truly had a blessed life."
Asking that Wright be fined $1,000 and sentenced to two years on probation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Vaughan described Wright's actions as a "grave breach of public trust." Beyond the financial harm, Vaughan continued, Wright's victims have seen their faith in the mail destroyed.
While Wright's motivations aren't clear, Vaughan noted his thefts supported a lesser offense - slothfulness on the public payroll.
"Wright spent the money to purchase marijuana, which he then smoked during the time he was supposed to be delivering the mail," Vaughan told the court.
While many mail carriers caught stealing lose their public pensions, Wright has been allowed to retire and keep his. The circumstances of that decision were not outlined in court documents.