RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh man has been sentenced to two years in prison after stealing 500 pieces of mail adding up to losses of more than $30,000.

On July 18, Anthony Messiah Brooks, 21, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen mail and conspiracy to commit theft of mail.

According to court documents, the Raleigh Police Department investigated multiple incidents of theft from the U.S. Postal Service collected from boxes in Raleigh that happened between May and August 2022. These boxes can only be accessed by a U.S. Postal Service master key.

During the course of the investigation, Brooks was found with 500 pieces of mail after a search of his residence. The stolen mail included cash, money orders, gift certificates, and personal identifying information for unknown individuals.

There was also evidence that Brooks used social media to recruit and communicate with others involved in the conspiracy. Specifically, direct messages to other users regarding bank account balances, photos of checks, and discussions of various meeting locations at banks, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

At least six victims were identified with losses of more than $30,000 but it is anticipated that there are more victims, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.

“As it has for almost 250 years, our US Postal Service operates largely upon the trust and good faith of our citizens not to abuse it,” said Easley. “Unfortunately, there are those in our society who see that system of trust as an opportunity for profit, by stealing from the mail and converting the contents for financial gain.  We are proud to partner with the United States Postal Inspection Service which works tirelessly to hold accountable those who abuse our mail system to enrich themselves.”

Brooks had no prior criminal history. At the sentencing hearing, the Court noted that his conduct was egregious and that a more significant punishment was needed to deter Brooks and others from stealing mail from the community.