Two Ohio men have pleaded guilty in a string of armed robberies of mail carriers, federal officials say.
One Columbus man and one Westerville man, both 20 years old, were accused of robbing four mail carriers at gunpoint, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio.
The men stole service keys, which they then used to steal mail from USPS receptacles, officials said. The men stole personal and business checks and altered them to reflect new payees and payment amounts, authorities said.
The men also recruited others to deposit the altered checks into their bank accounts and would split the profit, officials said.
On Dec. 29, 2022, officials say the Columbus man robbed a postal carrier at gunpoint. The Westerville man, who was on probation wearing a GPS ankle monitor, helped the Columbus man with the gun and recruited two juveniles to help with the robbery, officials said.
In January, the Columbus man pushed a mail carrier into her mail truck, then pushed a gun into her side and stole her keys, officials said. The Westerville man acted as a lookout from his vehicle nearby, “using the cover of making DoorDash deliveries to evade his home confinement,” according to officials.
Later that same day, the two worked together to rob another mail carrier of her personal keys and USPS keys, officials said.
On May 11, the Columbus man robbed a postal worker at a post office retail store. He approached the worker while she was outside on a break, officials said.
“(He) asked the victim for her keys, and when she asked, ‘What keys?’ he pistol-whipped her in the head with his handgun,” officials said in the news release. “(He) forcibly accompanied the victim into the post office to retrieve her service keys.”
Officials said the Westerville man got another gun for the Columbus man to use during this robbery and picked him and others up after the robbery took place. Then he paid the robbers several hundred dollars, according to officials.
When authorities carried out a search warrant at the Westerville man’s home, they discovered “$22,000 in cash, hundreds of washed and altered checks, two postal keys and hundreds of pieces of stolen mail,” the release said.
They also found a scanner and small printer with printed checks located next to it, a large box containing more than 100 checks, most of which were blank, and numerous checks stuffed inside toilet bowls, according to a criminal complaint.
As part of a plea deal, the Columbus man is being recommended for a sentence of 20 to 25 years in prison. The Westerville man faces a minimum of 20 years up to life in prison, officials said.
“The two men are the latest of at least a dozen defendants charged in the Southern District of Ohio in 2022 and 2023 with crimes related to postal robberies,” the news release said.
In August 2022, a man in Columbus was sentenced to 78 months in prison in two armed robberies of postal workers.
Westerville is about 16 miles north of Columbus.