St. Louis County man admits stealing checks from mail and committing check fraud

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A man from St. Louis County, Missouri on Thursday admitted stealing mail from collection boxes and committing fraud with stolen checks.

Tahj K. Boyd, now 21, was caught by police after someone reported suspicious activity at the U.S. Post Office at 1100 Town and Country Commons Drive in Town and Country on Sept. 1, 2023. Two men were spotted running with black trash bags to their vehicle, which was parked in front of Postal Service collection boxes. Police stopped the car Boyd was driving on Highway 141 in Manchester, Missouri, catching Boyd and James R. Townsend with trash bags containing 110 pieces of stolen mail, including about 60 checks in amounts totaling about $32,456, Boyd admitted Thursday. 

Investigators found evidence on Boyd’s phone that he’d searched for the locations of post offices and collection boxes as well as communications between Boyd and others discussing the theft of mail. 

Boyd and Townsend were indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis on Sept. 21, 2023. When Boyd was arrested on October 18, investigators found debit cards bearing the names of other people and learned that Boyd had been committing fraud with checks stolen from the mail. Between June 2022 and October 2022, Boyd and his co-conspirators deposited or attempted to deposit approximately 21 checks totaling about $83,517 using the six debit cards found in Boyd’s bedroom. Boyd deposited some of the checks and recruited others to allow their accounts to be used to deposit checks, he admitted in his plea. 

Through the deposit of forged and fraudulent checks and his theft of mail, Boyd admitted intending to cause a loss of at least $115,973. 

James R. Townsend, 19, of Ferguson, was arrested with Boyd. He pleaded guilty to mail theft in October. 

Boyd is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8. The mail theft charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. 

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Town and Country Police Department, the Manchester Police Department and a U.S. Marshals Service task force that includes the St. Louis County Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Clow is prosecuting the case.

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