Federal charges in store for thieves who stole master key to post office mailboxes
BATON ROUGE - Three people are in jail accused of mugging a mail carrier in broad daylight and stealing a master key for a post office box. Police say those suspects were found with stolen mail.
It was the middle of the day on June 16th, when a mail carrier noticed an SUV following him. Two people with guns got out of the vehicle and demanded the carrier give up a key he carried.
They hopped back into the SUV and sped away. That led to a major search by law enforcement, trying to find the key that can open many mailboxes across the capital region.
"Our investigators are working investigators from another state along with the postal inspectors," Lt. Don Coppola said.
On Wednesday, Baton Rouge Police said they found the robbers, 26-year-old Deajon Dobbins, 21-year-old Denzel Jackson, and 26-year-old Dashun Larkin. The three are in jail facing armed robbery and theft charges. In addition to the state charges, they could soon face federal charges.
This comes at a time when fewer postal police available to help make sure mail isn't stolen. Low-tech crimes like trying to steal mail are no surprise to Frank Albergo, the President of the Postal Police Officers Association.
"Digital anti-fraud technology makes it more difficult to steal identities, so they are going old school," Albergo said.
He says there has been an increase in mail theft and robberies since postal police were moved off the streets in 2020 to postal facilities.
"So we were no longer able to stop mail theft, or protect postal workers," Albergo said.
Earlier this week, a Baton Rouge man was arrested in St. Tammany Parish. Slidell police say they found that man in possession of more than 50 checks from a mailbox in Baton Rouge.
Officials say that arrest is not linked to the mugging of the mailman. Now that these suspects are off the streets, police say it's time to contact them to help them build their cases if you believe you had something taken.
"Some mail has been taken, if you are a victim of that, reach out to the postal inspectors. Knowing these individuals have been apprehended," Coppola said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service released the following statement:
"On June 16, 2022, a USPS letter carrier was robbed while on his route in Baton Rouge. Protecting the Postal Service is the core mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Therefore, this robbery investigation received the highest level of response and attention. Postal Inspectors worked tirelessly with our local police departments, including the Baton Rouge Police Department, and used every investigative tool at our disposal to locate the individuals responsible for this incident.
Three suspects have been arrested for the robbery of the USPS letter carrier and Postal Inspectors recovered the stolen arrow key. The suspects are currently being held on local charges. However, Postal Inspectors will present the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution.
The armed robbery of a postal employee is a federal offense punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Additionally, the unauthorized possession of a USPS key is a federal offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Postal Inspectors will be reaching out to mail theft victims known to be related to this incident in the near future. However, if customers believe their mail may have been stolen, whether related to this incident or not, they are urged to report it to the Postal Inspection Service directly by calling our hotline at 877-876-2455 or visiting our website at www.USPIS.gov/report".
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