Prosecutors charge another man with mail theft — 3rd case this week

Kendale Chavez | CPD

Prosecutors have charged a man with theft and possession of burglary tools after he was allegedly found carrying other people’s mail and a copy of a postal service master key during a traffic stop in West Ridge.

Kendale Chavez, 24, is the third person this week to face mail theft allegations on the North and Far North Sides.

Prosecutors said Chavez was the passenger of a car when its driver was stopped for a parole check in the 2200 block of West Thome around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. During a search of the vehicle, police recovered a backpack that Chavez allegedly claimed ownership of.

The backpack contained several checks and mail belonging to different people and the postal service key, prosecutors said. Chavez admitted that he used the key to access mailboxes, according to the allegations.

Judge David Navarro released Chavez on his own recognizance.

Earlier in the week, prosecutors charged Casey Martin, 35, and Paul Atou, 42, with a series of large-scale mail thefts from large residential buildings in Uptown and Edgewater. Martin and Atou allegedly used postal service keys to open banks of mailboxes in the buildings.

Martin has seven prior felony convictions, including identity theft cases in 2018, 2016, and 2013, and forgery counts in 2006 and 2004.

Chicago police and federal law enforcement agencies have issued several bulletins about similar crimes in recent months.

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