ST. LOUIS – Three men accused of federal crimes connected to the theft of mail or attempted theft of mail appeared in court Tuesday to face charges and a fourth has also been indicted.
Tahj K. Boyd, 19, of St. Louis County, and James R. Townsend, 18, of Ferguson, were indicted September 21 on one felony charge of mail theft. Their indictment says they stole mail from U.S. Postal Service collection boxes outside the Post Office at 1100 Town and Country Commons Drive in Town and Country on September 1.
Dwaundre K. Valley, 19, of Bridgeton, was indicted September 21 on three felony charges of bribery of a public official. The indictment says Valley offered three different postal carriers money for the keys that allow access to certain mail collection boxes. On March 4 he approached someone in St. Ann, Missouri, the indictment says. Valley then made similar offers on April 15 in Florissant and April 20 in Maryland Heights.
Dennis Cooperwood Jr., 19, of Country Club Hills, was indicted October 12 on one felony charge of possession of stolen mail matter. Cooperwood’s indictment accuses him of being in possession of about 179 business and personal checks on April 12 that had been taken from a collection box.
The mail theft and possession of stolen mail matter charges carry a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. The bribery charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
“Today’s arrests are the result of the well-coordinated investigative efforts between Postal Inspectors and our local and federal law enforcement partners,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Kai Pickens, who heads the St. Louis Field Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “The Inspection Service is firmly committed to bringing to justice, those who choose to steal mail and victimize the good citizens of St. Louis.”
Chief James Cavins of the Town and Country Police Department said, “We wish to thank all of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners for the coordinated effort in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion. This partnership is paramount to our collective success and the ability to provide closure for those affected. We will continue to work aggressively with other law enforcement organizations at all levels throughout the St. Louis region to investigate, arrest and seek charges for those who choose to engage in criminal activity.”
These cases were investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Town and Country Police Department, and a U.S. Marshals Service task force that includes the St. Louis County Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Clow is prosecuting the case.