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BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. – Authorities on Friday announced that charges have been filed against a FedEx subcontractor who admitted to dumping packages in a roadside ditch last month in Alabama.

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Blount County deputies began investigating Nov. 24 after a property owner called a county commissioner to report that he had found packages dumped on his property. Investigators determined that 400 packages were left in the ditch, including pet items, toys and food.

FedEx employees were able to scan 153 of the packages to determine where they were meant to go. Nearly 260 packages were unidentifiable due to issues with their barcodes or the legibility of the recipients’ addresses or names, Sheriff Mark Moon said.

On Friday, Moon announced that five counts of cargo theft have been filed against Adamsville man Deandre Rayshaun Charleston, 22.

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“This young man … admitted to everything that was asked of him and that we could prove, and was very upfront,” Moon said at a news conference. “He was very sorrowful for what he had done and just admitted that he … was having some hard times in his life and just made poor choices.”

Moon said Charleston was grappling with a death in the family when he dumped the packages on five separate occasions between Nov. 17 and Nov. 23. In total, investigators said he left nearly $40,000 worth of packages in the ditch, including almost $25,000 worth of merchandise that could not be connected to their final destinations.

“It’s one of those situations where you hate it for the young man, because he did seem to be very respectful, very polite,” Moon said, adding that Charleston made “a few bad choices that are going to affect him here in the near future.”

The sheriff said authorities expect Charleston to turn himself in later Friday after completing his work at another package delivery job. Moon said Charleston worked as a subcontractor when he drove and delivered for FedEx, but that he has since been fired from the position.

“Hopefully this will be one of those very hard life lessons that he will learn from and be able to move forward in his life. That’s what we really want,” the sheriff said.

“You know, I know there’s a lot of people out there that just want to throw this guy away, throw away the key and never give him any hope of a life ever. That’s not my intentions and that’s not my hope. I hope this is a life lesson that can change him, give him a better work ethic (and) a better understanding of other people’s needs, where he can move on from here and become a thriving citizen in this city, in this state.”

Cargo theft charges are Class D felonies which carry a minimum sentence of one year and one day each, Moon said.