Rogers Park mail thief robbed postal worker of master key, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — A man who was allegedly found with a U.S. Postal Service master key when Chicago cops arrested him for mail theft in Rogers Park late last year has now been charged with robbing a mail carrier to get the key.

Cops initially arrested Michael Valentine, 38, in the 6700 block of North Lakewood on December 6 after receiving a call about a burglary in progress.

The police said they found bulk mail addressed to different people inside Valentine’s canvas bag. The officers said they also found a postal service master key about 15 feet from where they detained him. The report said investigators determined that a robber had taken the key from a mail carrier weeks earlier.

Michael Valentine and a U.S. Postal Service “arrow key.” (Chicago Police Department, mailmanscott)

Postal service masters, also known as “arrow keys,” allow mail carriers to access apartment buildings and mailbox systems.

Prosecutors only charged Valentine with burglary and possession of burglary tools in December, but detectives continued to investigate the robbery. That investigation led them right back to Valentine.

In newly filed court papers, prosecutors said a 62-year-old mail carrier identified Valentine in a photo line-up as the man who robbed her of her master key in the 10300 block of South Calumet on November 8.

Valentine approached her with his hands in his pockets and “forcefully demanded” her work keys, according to a detention petition. The mail carrier surrendered her keys, bolted to her work truck, and locked herself inside.

The petition said he tried to open the truck and banged on the doors, but eventually ran away.

Judge Susana Ortiz rejected the state’s detention petition and allowed Valentine to return home on electronic monitoring. He was already on an ankle monitor as a condition of release in the pending burglary case.

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About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com