Mail truck thief nabbed

Published 6:44 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

WOODLAND – An early-morning joy ride will leave one Northampton County man facing federal charges.

According to Woodland Police Chief Don Ryan, a mail truck was stolen from the Woodland Post Office early Saturday morning. The theft came shortly after a person approached weekend postmaster Sarah Pope causing her to flee the scene.

“Sarah Pope was arriving when she saw someone behind the post office who appeared to be trying to enter the building,” Ryan said. “She drove away and went to the convenience store and placed a call to me.”

Once Ryan and Pope arrived, they found the truck containing mail to be delivered to local post offices had been stolen. Ryan said the driver reported that he had taken the mail into the Woodland Post Office and returned to find someone trying to jump up on the dock. The driver fled and the person allegedly stole the truck, which Ryan said was 70 percent full of mail.

“The driver said he hid and then heard his truck going down the road,” the chief said. “He saw that it was heading north on (N.C. Highway) 35 toward Potecasi.”

After the incident, Ryan began processing the scene and then started looking for the vehicle. He recovered it in a wooded area across the road from Arrowhead Mobile Home Park.

A phone call alerted Ryan that an abundance of mail had been seen in the mobile home park and he investigated. After interviews were conducted, he put together a suspect lineup for the driver and the alleged thief was identified.

Ryan said he called the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office for assistance and Deputy Lynette Bunch aided in the arrest.

Christopher Shawn Mason, 33, whose last known address was in Arrowhead MHP was arrested and charged with common law robbery, theft of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property. He was placed in the Northampton County Jail under a $305,000 bond.

“The postal inspector will be drawing federal charges on Mason,” Ryan said. “We will also continue investigating this case.”

The chief indicated most of the mail was recovered and had been sent back to Rocky Mount for processing.

“I want to express my thanks to Sheriff (Wardie) Vincent,” Ryan said. “Without the assistance I received, it would have been difficult to make the arrest.”