Three people have been taken into custody after allegedly flashing guns to intimidate United States Postal Service mail carriers in Hempstead and Queens to hand over their postal and vehicle keys and selling them online.
Nassau County prosecutors charged Kimora Dupree, 20, of Elmont, Melajah Taffe, 22, of Valley Stream, and a minor whose identity was not released, with robbery. All pleaded not gulity.
Dupree is due back in court on Jan. 8 and Taffe on Jan. 12. The minor, who was arraigned before Judge Helene Gugerty, was remanded.
"These individuals allegedly targeted mail carriers in Hempstead and Queens on their daily routes stole multiple keys, and tried to sell them on the internet," Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a news release.
"Across the country, hardworking mail carriers are contending with an increase in threats of violence for their postal keys, which open secure mail collection boxes," she added. "We will not allow Nassau County's dedicated mail carriers to be victimized. We are grateful to our partners at the United States Postal Inspection Service for their assistance in this prosecution."
On Feb. 22 near 3:40 p.m., a postal carrier was walking up to a home in Hempstead when the minor allegedly came up behind him, brandishing a handgun and demanding the carrier turn over his key.
He then allegedly ripped the keys from the carrier’s belt and ran off in a vehicle driven by Taffe.
In a similar incident, another mail carrier on his routine route in Queens was forced to surrender his keys to the juvenile. In both instances, Dupree allegedly posted the keys on Instagram for sale.
The stolen items include a mail truck key and other postal keys which gain access to all the mailboxes, collection boxes, parcel lockers and other USPS property along the mail carriers’ route.
Dupree was arrested by Nassau County police on Nov. 1 in Williston Park and Taffe was arrested in Valley Stream on Oct. 10. The juvenile was arrested in Virgina by local police on Oct. 25 and extradited to Nassau County on Nov. 27.