updated 5/12/2009 11:16:33 AM ET 2009-05-12T15:16:33

Authorities say a rural postal carrier in suburban Detroit stole and sold stamps worth nearly $20,000 because he was behind on his mortgage.

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Postal agents confronted John Auito on April 30 outside his home in Macomb. He told agents that he typically sold the stamps at a 15 percent discount. Auito contacted people who had participated in stamp auctions on eBay.

The 42-year-old Auito is charged with stealing stamps that were being shipped to retailers in his delivery area.

A message seeking comment was left at his home Monday.

Auito told agents that he began taking stamps in September because he feared foreclosure.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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