Yonkers residents Steven Carson, 27 and Derek Brown, 28, were charged in White Plains Federal Court this week on charges claiming that they went on a mail theft spree involving United States Postal Service mailboxes.
According to the complaint that was unsealed in court on Thursday, on April 2, Brown allegedly redeemed a stolen gift card at a Gap store on the same day a victim in Bronxville mailed the card. Two days later, Carson deposited two money orders stolen from the mail into an account in Brown’s name.
The complaint alleges that on April 20, Carson and Brown attempted to flee from police officers during a traffic stop in Eastchester when the officers recovered a bag full of mail in their car. In total, the bag contained more than $66,000 in stolen checks and money orders that were taken from mailboxes.
Carson was also captured on video on four separate occasions opening locked USPS boxes and stealing mail in Bronxville . The investigation is ongoing.
Both men were charged with one count of mail theft, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Carson has also been charged with stealing a Postal Service key, which could land him an additional 10 years in prison.
“The crime of mail theft is a violation of the trusted tradition our customers place in the delivery and receipt of the U.S. Mail,” USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Peter Rendina said in a statement. “No matter how long it takes or the rhetoric spoken, Postal Inspectors are watching and always on the investigative forefront in keeping the U.S. Mail safe from theft.”
Mail theft has become a prevailing problem in the Hudson Valley, with more than a dozen municipalities in the region reporting incidents, including several that were caught on camera.
“With the serious problem of mail theft in Westchester County, we commend the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspectors, U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, and local police departments working closely with our Investigations Division and Criminal Investigators on these arrests,” Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. said following the federal arrests. “Mail theft and the identity fraud that goes with it affects every one of our residents. We remain committed to working together to secure our mail service and bring criminals to justice.”
Earlier this month, a former USPS employee who recently resigned from her post in Yonkers was among two connected to mail thefts in the area. Eight alleged mail thieves were apprehended in Westchester last month stealing from mailboxes in Bronxville.
Recently appointed Westchester Postal Service Manager Roxanne Hosein stated that they have started to receive “positive feedback” to some of the changes being made in the area following months of complaints.
“Like any other organization that competes for customers, it is essential that we continuously look for ways to adapt and improve. Under the leadership of Westchester District Manager Richard Conte, the good news is that we are beginning to receive positive feedback on our service; but rest assured, we have more work to do. The community feedback from our ongoing outreach activities is certainly paying dividends by helping us do a better job of identifying areas of opportunity for improvement.”
Investigators also noted that residents should be aware of the potential for identity theft and late payment charges for bill payments sent through the mail. The incidents remain under investigation by police in Yonkers and local law enforcement agencies throughout Westchester.
“These incidents of outside mailbox theft appear to be a regional issue with multiple jurisdictions affected; therefore the (law enforcement) recommends that residents go directly to their local post office and drop off mail inside the postal facility or hand deliver to your carrier.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.