WESTERVILLE, Ohio — A Genoa Township man was arrested Thursday morning in an FBI raid of his parents’ home.
Cameron D. Newton, 20, is charged with mail theft and unlawful possession of a postal key, both federal crimes.
According to court documents, FBI agents have been investigating a pattern of violent armed robberies where USPS letter carriers are robbed at gunpoint and then force them to hand over their USPS “arrow keys.” Arrow keys allow carriers to open secure mailboxes at apartments and condo complexes.
Between January 5 and May 11, 25 such robberies have happened in the Columbus area.
Once stolen, the keys are used to steal valuable items, personal checks, business checks, and other negotiable financial instruments.
Shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, Genoa Township police officers were called to a home on the 6800 block of WIlloughby Ct. to assist with the serving of a warrant.
According to court documents, a modified Arrow Lock Key and a USPS Arrow key were found in Newton’s bedroom. One of the keys was identified as one stolen during the armed robbery of a USPS employee outside a post office at 2873 West Broad Street on May 11. During that robbery, the employee was pistol-whipped with a handgun.
Agents also recovered a white plastic trash bag containing more than 100 pieces of mail, addressed to numerous people at various addresses, none of whom were Newton, according to court documents. Investigators also reported seizing several Visa money cards, a printer with printed checks, and a handgun.
Checks were also found stuffed inside toilets in two different bathrooms, according to court documents.
According to Genoa Township Police, the warrant was executed without incident.
Unlawful possession of postal keys is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Mail theft is punishable by up to five years.
A detention hearing for Newton is scheduled for May 22.