This morning, federal and local authorities arrested three San Antonio residents without incident in connection with a mail theft scheme that involved the shooting of a U.S. Mail carrier last week in Spring Branch, TX, announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.; Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Houston Division; and, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
A federal criminal complaint filed this afternoon charges 22–year-old Bradley A’Hearn and 26–year-old Sara Richford with one count of assault of a federal agent; one count of carjacking; one count of violating the Hobbs Act (interference with Commerce by violence); and, one count of mail theft. A second criminal complaint filed this afternoon charges 40-year-old Piper Lee with one count of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer.
The affidavit in support of the criminal complaints alleges that on February 11, 2017, A’Hearn shot a female U.S. Mail carrier as she was delivering mail to cluster of mailboxes in Spring Branch, TX, when she would not give him her cell phone. The victim is recovering from a gunshot wound to her leg. A’Hearn left the scene in the victim’s pickup truck which still contained the victim’s purse and personal effects as well as a considerable amount of U.S. Mail. Richford, driving a maroon/brown colored Toyota Venza, followed A’Hearn as he left the scene.
Furthermore, the complaint states that on February 13, 2017, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent near the site of the shooting recognized the Toyota Venza vehicle. The agent, while attempting to stop the vehicle, was allegedly fired upon by A’Hearn. Other law enforcement personnel, who subsequently joined the pursuit, were also fired upon by A’Hearn. The defendants managed to avoid capture.
The complaint also alleges that on February 14, 2017, agents were notified by employees of a local motel of the presence of a large amount of U.S. Mail and a handgun in one of their rooms. discovered mail, originating from locations across the country, was destined for addresses in the Spring Branch, TX area. That same day, not far from the motel, investigators recovered the abandoned Toyota Venza. From motel surveillance footage, investigators discovered another vehicle being utilized by the defendants, a yellow Volkswagen. Agents observed the defendants leave the motel in the yellow Volkswagen and requested San Antonio police to initiate a stop of the vehicle. defendants failed to yield to SAPD officers and the occupants began shooting at the police. Ultimately, the defendants abandoned their vehicle inside a parking garage of a local mall and managed to elude capture by law enforcement.
At approximately 9:00 this morning, San Antonio police officers, acting on information provided to investigators, arrested the defendants without incident in a parking lot of a different local motel.
Upon conviction, A’Hearn and Richford face up to 20 years in federal prison for assault of a federal agent; up to 25 years in federal prison for carjacking; and, up to 20 years in federal prison for violating the Hobbs Act; and up to five years in federal prison for mail theft. Lee faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction for aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer).
All three defendants are scheduled for an initial appearance tomorrow at 11:00am in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry J. Bemporad. Detention hearings are likely to be scheduled for next week.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be evidence of guilt. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service together with the San Antonio Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Bulverde Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorneys Bettina Richardson and Christina Playton are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.