three defendants involved in robbery of postal carrier plead guilty to theft of special mail key
DENVER –Cheston Jermone Foster (aka Rome or Romeo), age 30, of Denver, Colorado, pled guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane to postal robbery and violation of his supervised release from an earlier criminal matter, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Denver U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Adam P. Behnen announced. 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. Foster is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17, 2014. Hurt and Langel are scheduled to be sentenced on June 13, 2014. All three defendants are being held in federal custody without the possibility of bond, pending a resolution of this case.
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.
“Thanks to excellent investigative work, those responsible for this violent crime have been held accountable for their criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Protecting Postal employees who patrol our streets daily is important, as the hard work on this case demonstrates.”
“These convictions are a result of determination and good old-fashioned police work exhibited by our Denver Postal Inspectors,” said Adam P. Behnen, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Denver Division. “A large part of the Postal Inspection Service mission is assuring the safety of postal employees and we want them to have confidence that they can focus on their duties. These types of crimes against postal employees are rare, but when they do occur, they become top priority for us.”
Each defendant faces not more than 25 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Denver Police Department.
The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Hosley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Gibson.