ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The United States Postal Inspection Service said it’s an all-too-common problem: porch pirates stealing packages and crooks targeting mail carriers. After a string of mail theft over the past two months, a U.S. Postal Inspector said it’s not something to be surprised about, especially around the holidays.
“It happens all year long. Obviously, there is an increase in the amount of packages that come out for the holiday season. We deliver a large portion of those,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Kelly McNulty.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said on October 18, a postal worker delivering mail to the 9000 block of Pan American Freeway Northeast was robbed at gunpoint by what appeared to be two males. Federal authorities said one of the suspects was Fabiola Gomez, who had disguised herself as a male wearing a fake goatee.
According to federal court records, the two suspects demanded the postal worker give them keys. The keys belonged to mailboxes around the 87113 ZIP code in Northeast Albuquerque.
The following day, October 19, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service received a complaint of opened mailboxes and mail missing. Mail was also found scattered on the ground at the Olympus Apartments on Alameda. Surveillance video captured showed the two suspects using the stolen keys to open and remove large amounts of mail from the boxes.
Continuing with their spree, the suspects struck again.
On November 9, inspectors were notified of another theft at the Sun North Estates near Wilshire and Jefferson. According to court records, the mailboxes were also left open, and mail was found scattered on the ground.
“It was everywhere, the entire park, and a lot of the mail wasn’t recovered. It’s very violating privacy. I feel very violated,” said Dacota Garcia, who had her mail stolen. The Postal Service inspector said mail theft is a federal crime that they are prosecuting more of these days.
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Fabiola and the second suspect could be facing up to five years in prison on each count of the mail theft, but because the suspects robbed a federal postal worker, that sentence could be up to 20 years. While Fabiola Gomez made her first appearance in federal court, the FBI is still searching for her accomplice and offering a $50,000 dollar reward for that person’s capture.