A wrote twice in May about a rise in mail thefts and temporary closupost office postoffice mail drop boxes in Little Rock, perhaps related to mail thefts.

Thefts are up nationwide as crooks steal mail with checks and then cash them or alter them for payment to different payees.

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I was told at the time by the postal inspector that boxes were undergoing maintenance and their closure was unrelated to thefts, but he acknowledged some mail thefts had occurred.

Today, this news release arrived from the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock:

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Four defendants have been indicted for their alleged involvement in stealing mail from mail receptacles. Byrannia Burks, 20, James Miller, 26, Kobe Powell, 24, and Eshawn Tucker, 21, all of Little Rock, have been charged by a grand jury with possession of stolen mail. Tucker and Burks were also charged with unlawful possession of a mail receptacle key.

Miller, Powell, and Tucker were all previously charged in criminal complaints filed July 18. All three, along with Burks, were subsequently indicted. Powell appeared in court today, and Miller, Tucker, and Burks will be arraigned by United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray later this month.

…If convicted, each defendant faces potential penalties for possession of stolen mail of not more than five years imprisonment and for unauthorized possession of a mail receptacle key of not more than 10 years imprisonment. All charges carry a fine of not more than $250,000 and not more than three years of supervised release.

The thefts were from postal collection boxes. For example, the indictment against Powell said:

COUNT 1

On or about June 6, 2022, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, the defendant, KOBE IZIAH POWELL, unlawfully had in his possession, mail and mail matter, that had been stolen and taken from a United States Postal Service collection box, that is, approximately 6 pieces of mail addressed to individuals and businesses, knowing that the mail had been stolen from a United States Postal Service collection box.

COUNT2

On or about July 18, 2022, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, the defendants, KOBE IZIAH POWELL and JAMES DIANTE MILLER, unlawfully had in their possession, mail and mail matter, that had been stolen and taken from a United States Postal Service collection box, that is, approximately 77 pieces of mail addressed to various individuals and businesses, knowing that the mail had been stolen from a United States Postal Service collection box.

The indictment against Burks said:

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Count 1

On or about June 5, 2022, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, the defendant, BYRANNIA MONIQUE BURKS, unlawfully had in his possession, mail and mail matter, that had been stolen and taken from a United States Postal Service collection box, that is, approximately 109 pieces of mail addressed to various individuals and businesses, knowing that the mail had been stolen from a United States Postal Service collection box.

COUNT2

On or about June 05, 2022, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, the defendant, BYRANNIA MONIQUE BURKS, knowingly and unlawfully possessed a key to an authorized receptacle for the deposit and delivery of mail matter, namely, a postal key, with the intent unlawfully and improperly to use the mail key.