Ex-Little Rock postman admits swiping gift cards

A former Little Rock mail carrier could spend up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing $1,100 worth of gift cards from the mail he was responsible for delivering.

Demetrius Brown, 34, of Little Rock was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2021 on two counts of theft of mail by a postal worker, which, in addition to the maximum sentence of five years in prison, is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 and a maximum of three years on probation.

Brown appeared with his attorney, KenDrell Collins of the Federal Office of Public Defenders in Little Rock, before U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson on Wednesday to enter his plea.

Brown initially appeared to try to back out of the plea deal when Wilson asked him about his willingness to move forward. He hesitated for several long moments when the judge asked him if he thought the plea deal was in his best interest.

“I just don’t want to fight the case,” Brown said, after several moments. “I know that’s what I did, and it’s the best thing to try and fight him because I know I did wrong.”

“Well, I need to know if you want me to approve this plea deal,” Wilson said.

“Yes, sir,” Brown replied.

“If anything comes up in the pre-sentence report or if I get information that makes me think I shouldn’t have approved it, I reserve the right to withdraw my approval,” Wilson said. “But, if I withdraw my endorsement, I will give you a chance to withdraw your guilty plea. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, sir,” Brown replied.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Liza Brown (no relation), on September 5, 2020, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service received a complaint from a Little Rock man who said his employer had mailed 18 cards of separate rewards worth $100 each in the mail that I had arrived.

An investigation revealed that Demetrius Brown, who was employed as a mail carrier, stole 11 gift cards worth $100 each in the mail and used them to purchase items from a number of stores around Little Rock, including the Nike Outlet Store on Bass Pro Parkway and Walmart on Bowman Road.

Liza Brown said that on October 1, 2020, Postal Service investigators placed a test piece of mail on Demetrius Brown’s route that contained two $20 bills.

“Brown pulled the money out of the test tube,” the prosecutor said.

“The test coin was retrieved from the letter tray of Brown’s vehicle. The envelope was opened and the greeting card was in the envelope. The two $20 bills placed inside the coin of the test were missing and were recovered from Brown’s pocket.”

“How do you plead the charge I summarized earlier?” Wilson asked the accused.

“Guilty,” Brown replied.

“Is it because you are, in truth and in fact, guilty? Wilson asked.

“Yes, sir,” Brown replied.

“Is what Mrs. Brown said correct?” asked the judge.

“Yes…yes, sir,” replied the accused, after a brief hesitation.

After finding Brown guilty of the offense, Wilson granted the prosecution’s request to dismiss the second count against Brown. Wilson allowed Brown to remain free on bail until sentencing.

“You understand you’re on eggshells and crackers until your sentencing, don’t you?” Wilson asked the accused.

“Yes, sir,” he replied.

“I might have to put you in jail on sentencing day, I don’t know that yet,” Wilson said. “The prisons are quite full, but there is room for one more, do you understand that?”

“Yes, sir,” Brown said softly.

Wilson scheduled Brown’s sentencing hearing for May 18 at 2 p.m., after a presentation report was completed and submitted by the U.S. probation office.

Michael N. Clark