Clarion man gets probation for possessing stolen mail

VanZweden said he did it because the homeowners were ‘beautiful people’ for whom everything in life came easily

CLARION — A Clarion man who admitted that he possessed stolen mail was sentenced to probation Monday.

Timothy R. VanZweden, 50, formerly of Belmond, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen mail, according to the United States attorney’s office, Northern District of Iowa.

In November 2017, he was living with his wife, a U.S. Mail carrier, in Belmond.

VanZweden was first reported to investigators after he was seen throwing a large trash bag into a garbage bin outside of a Clarion restaurant.

Mail was inside that bag.

A search warrant led to VanZweden’s house, where five letters that were taken from his wife’s mail route were found in the garbage, as well as a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service “arrow key,” which is a special key used to unlock U.S. Mail receptacles.

VanZweden admitted that he threw away the mail-filled garbage bag. He also said he burglarized two homes on his wife’s mail route in Belmond.

He said he did it because the homeowners were “beautiful people” for whom everything in life came easily, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

He also said one woman was snotty to him when he walked through her grass, and another lady had looked down upon him when he said “hi” to her in the pharmacy, prosecutors reported.

VanZweden’s probation lasts for three years.