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Press Release

Starke Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Connor Lee Austin (28, Starke) has pleaded guilty to theft of mail. Austin faces up to five years in federal prison and payment of restitution to the victims in the case. No sentencing date has been set.   

According to court documents and public records, in late April 2022, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) received multiple reports of mail being stolen from mail boxes in the Keystone Heights area. Surveillance footage from homes in that area captured a truck driving down roads with the passenger, later identified as Austin, and his co-defendant, Maranda Ann Stewart (26, Starke), stealing mail from mailboxes. On May 6, 2022, the Baker County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) arrested Austin and Stewart for their involvement with a fraudulent check. During the arrest, the BCSO conducted an inventory search of the truck used by them and located over 100 pieces of mail that had been stolen from various addresses in Clay County.

Further investigation determined that after stealing mail, Austin and Stewart used Austin’s phone in an effort to deposit stolen checks into their bank accounts through mobile deposit. Law enforcement recovered mail that had been stolen by Austin and Stewart from Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, and Putnam counties. 

Austin appeared in federal court on April 19, 2023, pursuant to a writ bringing him to Jacksonville from Florida State Prison where he is serving a prison sentence of 36 months for grand theft, grand theft from a dwelling, and burglary. He was ordered detained.

On June 27, 2023, Stewart pled guilty to one count of theft of mail. She faces up to five years’ imprisonment and payment of restitution to the victims in the case. No sentencing date has been set. 

This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with valuable assistance from the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein.

Updated July 13, 2023