TAMPA — It sounded like a line from Newman on Seinfeld.
The former postal employee told a Tampa federal judge on Friday that he never delivered hundreds of pieces of mail because he had spent the day napping in a parking lot.
When Andrew Allen Rimes woke up, he said, he panicked and dumped most of the mail along a wooded stretch of Pasco County, stashing the rest in a friend's backyard shed.
"I'm really sorry for what I've done," Rimes said in court. "I intended no harm to anybody."
U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara sentenced him to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Rimes, 23, of 9150 Park Richey Blvd., Port Richey, pleaded guilty to detaining, delaying, opening or destroying mail in his possession that was intended to be delivered.
Investigators said the incident took place in August 2006. Rimes dumped the mail along 20 Mile Level Road in Land O'Lakes.
Though Rimes admitted to more than a failure to deliver the mail in court records, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Monk told the judge Rimes wasn't being completely forthcoming in court.
"He rifled through it, stole medication and other items out of the mail," Monk said. "Perhaps he went to sleep after that."
Rimes drew a sentence at the high end of a guidelines because he absconded for three months while on bond. The judge also enhanced the sentence because of Rimes' criminal past.
The woman who turned him in on the mail charge had reported that Rimes sexually assaulted her daughter, Monk said. The mother later recanted the story.
According to Rimes' juvenile records, he was expelled from school for having sex in a bathroom, the judge said.
Lazzara ordered that he receive sex offender treatment in prison.
With tears in his eyes, Rimes told the judge that he thought those things wouldn't be used against him since they had already been resolved.
"Your honor, I understand I've made some mistakes," Rimes said. "But I have to be punished twice for the same thing? I don't understand it."
"Well, it's part of your life," Lazzara told him, citing a federal statute that allows a judge to consider the history and character of a defendant. "What I don't understand is why in the world the United States Postal Service gave you a job."
Rimes also was a McDonald's employee while working as a temporary letter carrier. He said he never reported his criminal past on an application because juvenile judges told him he would never have to mention it.