Man who twice stole from USPS gets 7-year sentence for theft of special mail key

The Denver Post reports that a man who robbed a letter carrier of his collection box key has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison:

Invoking the legacy of the nation’s first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin, a federal judge chided a man for repeatedly targeting the U.S. Postal Service in Denver-area crime schemes.

“It’s just a dumb thing to do,” U.S. District Judge John Kane told 30-year-old defendant Cheston “Romeo” Foster, before sentencing Foster to seven years in a federal prison on Tuesday.

US-Department-Of-Justi_fmtCheston Jermone Foster (aka Rome or Romeo), age 30, of Denver, Colorado, pled guilty in March to postal robbery and violation of his supervised release from an earlier criminal matter. In addition to Foster’s guilty plea, two co-conspirators, Terrance Hurt, age 34, of Denver, and Zachary Langel, age 35, of Denver, previously pled guilty to similar charges. The three defendants were involved in the December 17, 2013 robbery of a postal collections driver in north Denver.

The lead defendant, Foster, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2013. On October 23, 2013, Foster, along with Hurt and Langel were charged in a superseding indictment. On March 11, 2014, Hurt and Langel entered guilty pleas. Foster pled guilty on March 20, 2014.

On December 15, 2012, Foster, drove co-defendants Hurt and Langel around in his GMC Yukon to the area of 23rd and Oneida in north Denver, to determine if the U.S. Postal Service collected mail from the blue collection box placed in that area for the public to use. The defendant saw that there was a specific time for collection of that box on weekdays. Foster then communicated with his co-conspirators by text and phone to arrange to meet on December 17, 2012, to rob the postal clerk and take his “Arrow Key”, a master key issued by the U.S. Postal Service to access the collection boxes in a particular geographic region.

On December 17, 2012, Foster picked up Hurt and Langel. That afternoon, the three co-conspirators drove around in the defendant’s Yukon to familiarize themselves with the area around the blue collection box at 23rd and Oneida. After doing so, they went to a residence approximately four blocks away. Foster went inside the residence and retrieved a large kitchen knife. The three coconspirators returned to the area of 23rd and Oneida to await the postal carrier’s arrival. The three followed their plan, robbed the postal carrier, and took his “arrow key.” One of the co-conspirators got into the mail truck vehicle after it had stopped. The other two acted as lookouts. The coconspirator inside the truck brandished a kitchen knife and ordered the postal carrier to turn over his Arrow key. After robbing the postal carrier of the Arrow key, the three coconspirators returned to the defendant’s Yukon and drove away from the area.