BOSTON – A Boston man has been arrested and charged in connection with the Jan. 4, 2023 armed robbery of a United States Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier in Massachusetts.
Anthony Diaz, 20, was charged with forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, and interfering with a United States Postal Employee, while they were engaged in the performance of their official duties, and did so by use of a deadly weapon, a firearm. In addition, Diaz was also charged with assaulting a person having lawful charge, custody, and control of United States mail, money, and other property of the United States, with the intent to rob, steal and purloin that mail, money, and other property of the United States, and in doing so put the life of that victim in jeopardy by the use of a firearm. Diaz was arrested on Feb. 17, 2023 and, following an initial appearance in Worcester this afternoon, was detained pending a hearing set for Feb. 27, 2023.
According to the charging documents, USPS has seen a rise in the use of Arrow Keys to facilitate the theft of U.S. Mail. An Arrow Key is a specific key designed to open designated blue USPS collection boxes in a specific area. These Arrow Keys are the property of USPS and it is a federal offense for an unauthorized person to possess one. Since July 2022, there have been at least 12 assaults on USPS letter carriers while in the performance of their official duties in Boston and surrounding cities and towns. These incidents included the attempted or successful robbery of USPS Arrow Keys from letter carriers in at least 10 instances. Additionally, of these 10, six of the robberies were instances where the perpetrators were reportedly armed with a knife, firearm, or both.
It is alleged that, on Jan. 4, 2023, in Peabody, Mass., Diaz approached a USPS letter carrier and stated, “Give me the keys,” while pointing a semi-automatic pistol at the victim. After the victim handed Diaz the USPS vehicle key, Diaz allegedly responded, “Give me the rest of the key,” and “Hurry up or I’ll shoot you.” The victim removed his keychain, which was attached to his belt, containing his USPS Arrow Key and asked if he could have his vehicle key back. Allegedly, Diaz did not respond, as he turned, placing the firearm in his right jacket pocket, and walked directly to the dark grey sedan parked in the area of 3A Veterans Memorial Drive. It is further alleged that Diaz stopped at the rear of the vehicle with the trunk open, before getting into the driver’s seat and departing.
“The national trend of threatening, assaulting and robbing United States postal employees for Arrow Keys has sadly made its way to Massachusetts. Postal workers are essential to countless aspects of our community and often go to great lengths to provide their invaluable services, at times in incredibly challenging circumstances,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “We allege Mr. Diaz targeted a mail carrier and robbed the victim at gun point for an Arrow Key. I commend the excellent investigative work by our USPIS partners, and issue warning to anyone seeking to harm postal workers for financial gain: you will be identified, apprehended and prosecuted in federal court.”
“Today’s arrest has been a true team effort,” said Darnell Edwards, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service would like to thank Peabody Police, Boston Police, and the Massachusetts State Police for their assistance in this investigation. Let today’s arrest serve as an example to criminals: if you target U.S. Postal Service employees and accost them with a gun, you will be identified and prosecuted. Postal Inspectors are watching, and we will tirelessly pursue you to bring you to justice.”
The charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees, provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of robbery of any person having lawful charge, control, or custody of any mail matter or of any money or other property of the United States provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins; USPIS Acting INC Edwards made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke A. Goldworm of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.