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Richmond mail thief sentenced to 7 years in federal prison

Richmond mail thief sentenced to 7 years in federal prison

A mailbox on the curb at the Klein Post Office, 7717 Louetta Rd., Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Spring.

A mailbox on the curb at the Klein Post Office, 7717 Louetta Rd., Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Spring.

Melissa Phillip/Press Photographer

A Houston man accused of stealing hundreds of checks from mailboxes in the Richmond area was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in prison.

Daruin Anelby Rosario, 28, was arrested in October 2023 and accused of breaking into a blue U.S. Postal Service collection box in Richmond and stealing mailed checks that had been thrown inside. He was charged with possession of stolen mail, unlawful possession of a postal key and aggravated identity theft

According to court documents, U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Rosario to 71 months in prison for those three charges, plus an additional two years in prison for violating probation in another 2022 mail theft conviction.

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Postal inspectors began investigating complaints of mail theft in Richmond in July 2023, following a request from Richmond police. An inspector installed a covert camera on one of the city’s collection boxes, as well as a sensor that would sound an alert if the box door was opened.

Two days after the equipment was installed, the camera captured Rosario opening the mailbox and taking out mail. Rosario repeated the visits two more times over the next month, the complaint said. Rosario allegedly used a master key to open the collection box without damaging it, the complaint said.

While the detectives were checking the mailbox, they also received a tip from the managers of an apartment complex in Katy, who reported finding dozens of checks and three debit and credit cards in an apartment from which Rosario had been evicted.

When investigators executed a search warrant on Rosario’s home in October, they found about 1,400 checks and nearly 800 pieces of mail, according to court documents. Rosario Laser admitted to stealing and selling the checks, and revealed that he had 12 mail keys, according to court documents.

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The complaint did not specify the combined value of the checks. The manager of one business affected by the thefts, Crest Operating Company, said one stolen check cost them $7,500.

Rosario has previously been sent to prison for mail theft. In 2020, he was arrested and charged with mail theft after police found a “large quantity” of other people’s names in his car during a traffic stop.

Prosecutors said the pile included letters, checks and an unopened mail-in ballot from Washington state.

Rosario would later admit that he stole and sold checks and other personal identification information between March 2018 and November 2020, according to a 2022 plea agreement. Prosecutors said Rosario was part of a “network of contacts and accomplices” who stole mail and exchanged information with each other.

Rosario “organized, photographed, cataloged, distributed, instructed, and sold” the stolen mail as part of the scheme. The information in the mail would later be used to create counterfeit checks, which would in turn be used to steal from banks and businesses.

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Prosecutors said Rosario was responsible for $150,000 in losses over the two-year period.

In 2022, Rosario pleaded guilty to the first charge of mail theft and was sentenced to three months in jail and two years of supervised release. He was on probation when he was arrested the second time, according to court records. He has been in federal custody since his arrest in 2023.

He pleaded guilty to his latest charges in March.