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Mail thief ordered to wear sandwich board

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SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- A man convicted of stealing U.S. mail will have to wear his own unique scarlet letter telling the world he was a thief, a court ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker sentenced Shawn Gementera to two months in prison and 100 hours of unusual community service for stealing mail from homes in San Francisco.

As his community service, Judge Walker ordered Gementera to spend 100 hours in front of a United States Postal Service office in San Francisco wearing a sandwich board bearing the words: "I have stolen mail. This is my punishment," the U.S. Attorney for Northern California said in a statement.

"A two month period of incarceration followed by the stigma of standing in front of a public post office wearing a sandwich board, Judge Walker stated, would emphasize to Mr. Gementera and others the seriousness of mail theft offenses," the statement said.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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