Oakland mail thief convicted | KRON4

(File / Photo by Valérie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(KRON) — A thief who broke into a U.S. Postal Service mail truck in Oakland and led police on a high-speed chase down Interstate-880 has been sentenced to two years in prison .

Craig Curtis Freeman, 35, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam on May 29, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.

The case stems from an incident on Dec. 30, 2022, when a mail carrier heard a gunshot and saw two people taking mail out of his U.S. Postal Service truck.

At the time, there was a surge in burglaries, thefts and assaults targeting postal workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, prosecutors said.

In his plea agreement, Freeman admitted he was driving a stolen car when he stopped behind the mail truck in Oakland, broke the lock on the truck's rear cargo door, removed more than 700 pieces of mail , placed them in the stolen car, and left.

Law enforcement officers caught up with Freeman within minutes. While fleeing officers, the duo crashed the stolen getaway vehicle into a truck. Freedman then jumped into the damaged truck and used it as a second getaway vehicle, prosecutors said.

“Freeman drove the truck at a high rate of speed through the streets of San Leandro before entering I-880 North via the exit ramp. Freeman managed to elude police while driving the stolen truck in the wrong direction on the highway, but was later apprehended,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote.

A federal grand jury indicted Freeman on March 28, 2023, for trespassing at a mail carrier facility, possession of stolen mail, and theft of mail. He pleaded guilty to all charges.

Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael Nunez said, “There is no more important mission for us as federal agents than to protect postal workers from crime and violence. To any copycats or wannabes who might consider stealing from a postal worker, I ask you to consider the years you face in federal prison, the price you will have on your head, and the fact that postal inspectors won't stop to track you down.

U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey said federal laws are “carefully crafted to protect the sanctity of the mail, including the sensitive information we entrust to the mail system; the safety of federal employees and contractors who deliver mail; and federal property used to deliver mail.

The case is the result of an investigation by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, the Oakland Police Department and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

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