Salina, NY — A Brooklyn man, who convinced his college hoops buddy to slip him the key to Liverpool-area post office collection boxes, made off with $67,883.91 in personal checks that had been placed in the mail, federal authorities revealed in court papers.
“Bank robbers often flee with less,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Thompson noted.
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Kevin R. Williams, 23, is facing years in federal prison for the scheme, which was eventually exposed after he led police on a chase, crashed into a ditch on Oswego Road in Clay and fled through nearby neighborhoods in May 2020.
Once police caught up to him, troopers found Williams had an official key from the Bayberry post office branch that allowed him to open post office collections boxes in the area. He also had a postal service uniform and a satchel, which he used to dress up like an official worker as he emptied the collections boxes.
There was also 49 pieces of stolen mail in the vehicle, authorities said. The mail came from boxes across the northern suburbs, from Fly Road in East Syracuse to Wegmans near Great Northern Mall.
It’s unclear what Williams’ intentions were with the checks; whether he planned to cash them himself somehow or steal bank information from them.
The fact the post office was involved in the thefts sent the case to federal authorities, who prosecute mail crimes.
“The defendant planned his crime,” Thompson wrote. “His actions were not impulsive. His actions were not undertaken with little thought or attention. His actions took careful preparation and planning.”
Williams has pleaded guilty to the scheme. So has his friend, Quayshawn Mitchell, who was an actual employee at the Bayberry post office and provided the key and the uniform.
Both men face sentencing in coming days and months in federal court. Under law, they could face a decade in prison, though it appears prosecutors aren’t seeking a maximum punishment.
Williams and Mitchell were buddies from their days playing basketball together at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, in Utica, authorities said.
Staff writer Douglass Dowty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-470-6070.