LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The eastern Arkansas division of the United States attorney’s office announced Wednesday that four people have been charged after a mail theft sting operation.
According to officials, three are from North Little Rock and were arrested.
The announced arrest was 19-year-old Javion Trevon Dozier, 23-year-old Gilpre Flowers and 23-year-old Jamoun Young. The fourth suspect is still at large.
The three individuals in custody had their initial appearance Wednesday afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Edie R. Ervin after criminal complaints were filed.
“If you steal United States mail, you can expect to go to a United States courthouse. Your crimes are federal crimes and we’re coming for you,” U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross said.
This mail theft investigation began last spring when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Little Rock Police Department began receiving complaints from individuals and businesses in the central Arkansas area that their mail was being stolen.
U.S. Secret Service for Little Rock, Allen Bryant says there are over a thousand victims and millions of dollars in loss, in central Arkansas.
Kimberly Cook knows what it’s like to be a victim.
Three months ago, Cook says her husband dropped off their rent check for her nonprofit retail shop, “Live Thankfully” in one of the blue drop boxes.
She says a few weeks later her landlord called asking her why she hadn’t paid her rent.
After that, things only got worse. Cook says she found out it was stolen, “but not only stolen, it had been forged and the amount was changed.”
Cook claims she lost $6,000, money which was earmarked not just for rent but also local youth in crisis.
Live Thankfully accepts clothing donations and all the money raised goes to local organizations her help the youth.
“We do have a goal of how much we like to give away every quarter, so it really has hurt not only us but those we like to help,” said Cook. “I hope that one day we’ll get out money back.”
The U.S. attorney’s office wants to warn people to take their mail inside and not use blue boxes, especially on weekends or federal holidays.
Theft of mail carries statutory penalties of up to 5 years in prison. All charges carry a fine of up to $250,000 with up to three years of supervised release.
and they say they’ll continue to push to put the thieves behind bars.