ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A fake letter carrier in Ann Arbor fled into a wooded, wetland area after officers confronted him about using a USPS collection box key to steal dozens of pieces of mail that contained checks, police said.
Calvin James Riles Jr. was seen around 10:45 a.m. Monday (March 21) by an official who was watching the area for thieves targeting mailboxes. In late 2019, USPS received information about checks being stolen from the mail stream in Ann Arbor, and authorities believed the thieves owned a key to collection boxes.
Riles was seen in the area of mailboxes that had previously been targeted in this scheme, according to authorities. He was dressed as a letter carrier while checking two blue collection boxes on Airport Boulevard across the street from the Key Bank on State Street, court records show.
He reached in and rifled through pieces of mail inside the first collection box, taking a long time, authorities said. That was unusual because letter carriers typically grab the entire tub of mail, drop it in a USPS truck or bag and depart, according to officials.
Riles closed the first collection box, went to the second and searched through it in the same way, police said.
He crossed State Street and continued on Research Park Drive, court records show. He walked right past another collection box without stopping, officials said.
A call to the inspection office in Detroit revealed the collection times for the boxes was after noon, and they hadn’t yet been scanned on that date. Ann Arbor Postal Management workers said the person assigned to work that route hadn’t left the office yet.
A detective from the Ann Arbor Police Department and several uniformed officers from Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township were called to confront Riles. When they tried to speak to him, he ran away, court records show.
Riles ran west on Ellsworth Road until an officer pulled up beside him on the shoulder, police said. He changed direction and crossed traffic to the south, running behind Zippy Auto Wash, according to officials.
He went into the woods and wetlands area before eventually being taken into custody, police said.
Officials recovered 62 pieces of mail stolen from the collection boxes inside Riles’ satchel, they said. The mail included checks in birthday cards, IRS payments and utility payments.
Riles is facing charges of theft of United States mail and impersonating a letter carrier.