Two men charged with stealing containers worth $2.2 million from USPS

inspectorBaltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Aaron Keith Howard, age 52, of Brooklyn, Maryland, and Roland Michael Muir, age 57, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, on charges of conspiring to steal, and theft of, aluminum carts from the U.S. Postal Service. The indictment was returned on May 6, 2014. Muir was arrested today. Howard was previously arrested, detained in federal custody and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on May 9th.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis.

“Theft of mail transport equipment is a serious crime,” said Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division. “The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and cannot afford to replace valuable equipment to provide reliable customer service. Postal Inspectors are charged with protecting the U.S. Postal Service’s infrastructure and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who threaten the financial and operational health of America’s mail system.”

The U.S. Postal Service used and stored mail transport equipment, including large aluminum carts known as over-the-road containers. Muir worked for a private mailer company located in Baltimore, driving a box truck.

According to the two count indictment and affidavit in support of the complaint, Howard and Muir drove in Muir’s employer’s box truck to U.S. Postal Service bulk mail centers in Capitol Heights where they stole the over-the-road containers and loaded them on the truck. Beginning in November 2013, Howard rented a 26 foot moving truck and drove it to the bulk mail centers in Capitol Heights where he stole the containers and loaded them onto the truck .

The indictment and affidavit allege that from April 2012 to April 2014, the defendants sold 1,765 containers containing 383,286 pounds of aluminum to metal recyclers in Maryland, including the Arundel Recycling Center in Anne Arundel County. They received $223,717 in cash. The defendants painted over U.S. Postal Service identifiers on the containers to avoid suspicion. The replacement value of the scrapped containers to the U.S. Postal Service is alleged to be over $2.2 million dollars.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy and 10 years in prison for the theft charge. An initial appearance has been scheduled for Muir at 4:15 p.m. today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division and Anne Arundel County Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who is prosecuting the case.