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Press Release

Chesapeake man sentenced for armed robberies of USPS mail carriers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Chesapeake man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to rob U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail carriers at gunpoint for their “arrow keys,” including as a gunman in one of the armed robberies.

According to court documents, O’Sirus Charles Landres Ford, 22, was a member of a social media group identified by three key emojis (“Three Keys”), the members of which conspired to steal arrow keys, the master keys used by USPS mail carriers to access blue collection boxes, outdoor parcel lockers, and apartment mailbox panels. Arrow keys are highly valued by criminals who use them to steal mail in lucrative criminal schemes, such as bank and check fraud and identity theft. Group members discussed how to commit the robberies – including selecting targets, using firearms, and techniques to evade law enforcement and mask their identities – and participating in related financial fraud and identity theft schemes. Ford was explicitly cautioned to proceed carefully since the crime was federal with a more severe penalty.

On May 8, 2023, co-conspirators rented a car for May 8 and 9 through Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that allows users to rent cars from each other, to use to commit arrow key robberies. Ford recruited two other individuals, including a minor, to commit the robbery and conducted reconnaissance in Hampton before shifting the target to Norfolk. After identifying a target mail carrier on Ballentine Boulevard, they turned onto Davis Street, where two of the co-conspirators exited the car and the third drove it further down Davis. One of the conspirators (the minor) brandished a firearm and robbed the carrier of his arrow key and USPS identification card. Ford and the minor then fled back toward Davis Street where the third co-conspirator picked them up.

After the robbery, Ford told his two co-conspirators that other co-conspirators did not want arrow keys from Norfolk, but asked them to participate in another robbery the following day in Newport News. The two had other commitments, though, and Ford recruited Jayden Stukes, 21, of Suffolk, to assist him in the robbery.

Ford requested that Stukes drive him “across the water.” Stukes agreed and informed Ford he would be with Da’Twan Watson, 24, of Chesapeake, and that Watson was “a lock.” When Ford, Stukes, and Watson met at the rental car that Ford had used the previous day, they were unable to gain entry to the vehicle, so Stukes arranged for another of his friends to drive the group. Ford, Stukes, and Watson were all armed with handguns and wore masks that could cover their faces.

After they crossed Hampton Roads, Ford diverted the car from the original destination, the downtown Newport News Post Office, and instead directed the vehicle around a light industrial-commercial area of Hampton. Ford and Watson exited the vehicle to continue hunting down the carrier on foot, and Stukes remained in the car with the driver and relayed details about the carrier’s location.

Watson and Ford encountered the carrier on Galax Street in Hampton. Only Ford was armed, but both he and Watson were fully masked as Watson approached from the side. Ford approached the carrier from Galax Street, brandished his firearm, and said, “Give me your keys or I’m gonna shoot you.” He then repeated his demand and began counting down from five. The victim gave Ford his USPS arrow key. Ford and Watson then fled, eventually meeting with Stukes and the driver in an apartment complex nearby, before the driver drove the group back across the water.

On Dec. 21, 2023, Ford pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to interfere with commerce by robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

On Dec. 13, 2023, Watson pleaded guilty to interfering with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting. On April 18 he was sentenced to four years in prison.

On Dec. 15, 2023, Stukes pleaded guilty to interfering with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting. On April 17 he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ajay Lall, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; Jimmie Wideman, Chief of Hampton Police; and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Podlesni and Mack Coleman prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:23-cr-51.


Press Officer

Updated June 11, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime