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Press Release

Albuquerque Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Mail Theft Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – JoAnn Bell, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to a theft of mail charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Bell was arrested on Sept. 19, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging her with theft of mail. The complaint alleged that Bell repeatedly stole mail from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail collection boxes located outside of U.S. Post Offices in Albuquerque by using a “fishing” device she fed into the mailbox to “fish” mail out. Bell was arrested after law enforcement officers found her asleep with the “fishing” device and stolen mail in her lap in a vehicle parked outside of a U.S. Post Office.


Bell was indicted on Oct. 12, 2016, and was charged with stealing and receiving stolen mail on Sept. 18, 2016 in Bernalillo County, N.M. During today’s change of plea hearing, Bell pled guilty to the indictment and admitted using a “fishing” device to pull mail out of USPS collection boxes on Sept. 17 and 18, 2016.


At sentencing, Bell faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.


This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Jon Ganjei.

Updated March 30, 2017