March 15, 2017 – In San Antonio this afternoon, a federal grand jury returned a 13–count indictment charging three San Antonio residents for their alleged roles in a mail theft scheme that involved the shooting of a U.S. Mail carrier last month 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.
The indictment charges 22–year-old Bradley A’Hearn and 26–year-old Sara Richford with five counts of aiding and abetting assault of a federal officer; three counts of aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; one count of aiding and abetting carjacking; one count of aiding and abetting possession of a stolen firearm; and, one count of possession of stolen mail. The indictment also charges 40-year-old Piper Lee with two counts of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer; one count of aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; and, one count of possession of stolen mail.
Court records allege 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.
Court records also allege 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.
Court records further allege 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 case in one of the motel rooms. Much of the 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. The 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.
On February 15, 2017, 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, the defendants face between ten years and life in federal prison for aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; up to 25 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting carjacking; up to 25 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting robbery of mail; up to 20 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting assault on a federal officer; up to ten years imprisonment for aiding and abetting possession of a stolen firearm; and up to five years imprisonment for possession of stolen mail.
All three defendants remain in federal custody at this time.
It is important to note that an indictment 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.