Man robbed Chicago postal carrier at gunpoint while on parole for armed robbery, prosecutors say

Deandre Davis and a U.S. Postal Service “arrow key.” | Chicago Police Department; mailmanscott

CHICAGO — Prosecutors say a Chicago man on parole for armed robbery is responsible for robbing a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier at gunpoint for their master keys on the North Side in March. Deandre Davis, 22, was held without bail by Judge Maryam Ahmad during a bond hearing on Tuesday afternoon.

Surveillance video showed Davis get out of a Toyota Camry to rob the postal carrier at gunpoint in the 6400 block of North Hoyne around 2:40 p.m. on March 20, Assistant State’s Attorney Alexander Konetzki said during the bail hearing. He allegedly demanded the 36-year-old man’s postal service master keys, then fled in the vehicle.

Chicago police detectives found surveillance video of Davis getting out of the Camry in front of a Rogers Park apartment building after the robbery, Konetzki said. A building manager and Chicago police detectives who’ve had previous contact with Davis identified him from the footage, according to the allegations.

Investigators arrested Davis on Monday when he showed up for an appointment with his parole officer.

Davis was convicted of participating in a January 2020 armed robbery that ended with the victim being shot and killed when someone stepped out of an alley and started shooting at them, according to Chicago Police Department records. He was never accused of shooting the victim.

He received a six-year sentence in 2021 and was paroled in September 2022, less than three years after the crime was committed, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.

Nicholas Giordano, the private defense attorney representing Davis during Tuesday’s hearing, blasted the state’s allegations.

“I didn’t hear one piece of evidence saying the postal worker identified the defendant,” Giordano argued, saying criminal charges cannot be based solely on a police officer’s identification.

Giordano told Judge Ahamad that officials lured Davis into the parole meeting on Monday by telling him they were going to end his parole early.

“They lied to him,” the attorney said.

Ahmad granted the state’s no-bail petition, apparently swayed by Davis’ criminal history. Konetzki said that background includes two juvenile adjudications, one for armed carjacking and the other for robbery and aggravated battery. Davis has also been arrested three times for misdemeanors since being paroled in September, Konetzki said.

The robbery that Davis is accused of was among a long list of similar crimes against postal workers that the Chicago Police Department warned about in a community alert last month.

Experts say stolen and forged arrow keys are used by theft crews that steal checks, credit cards, and documents to fuel identity theft operations.

Some thieves who use the stolen keys even wear postal service uniform parts as a disguise.

“Basically, the entire U.S. Postal Service is riddled with fraud,” a law enforcement source told CWBChicago last year. And things have only gotten worse since then.

A CWB source said that mail thieves are “part of a larger operation that uses stolen mail to open checking accounts and launder stolen checks,” among other crimes.

In one tricky scheme known as “check washing,” criminals use common chemicals to erase ink on stolen checks, then write the check for a large sum. The fraudulent checks are then either cashed or sold online.

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