A trio who authorities said staged daring, daylight robberies of mail carriers in Hempstead and Queens, stealing keys that accessed postal collection boxes, have been indicted and charged with the crimes, Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said Wednesday.
The announcement comes after a juvenile defendant in the case was arraigned Tuesday before Judge Helene Gugerty on two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree robbery. The juvenile pleaded not guilty and was remanded.
Earlier this month, defendant Kimora Dupree, 20, of Elmont was arraigned before Judge Tammy Robbins, while a second adult defendant, Melajah Taffe, 22, of Valley Stream was arraigned before Robbins in October. Court records show both Dupree and Taffe entered not guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree robbery, and were ordered held on $100,000 partially secured bond, $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash bail.
Dupree posted bail and is due back in court on Jan. 8. Taffe also posted bail and is due back in court Jan. 12.
According to the indictment, at 3:36 p.m. on Feb. 22 the juvenile defendant approached a U.S. Postal Service carrier who was walking up to a home in Hempstead, displayed a handgun and demanded the postal carrier hand over his keys. The defendant then “forcibly ripped” the keys from the postal carrier’s belt — and ran to a getaway vehicle driven by Taffe, who also goes by “Melly.”
In another incident on March 22, authorities said the juvenile approached a mail carrier at 2:18 p.m. in Whitestone, Queens, displayed a handgun and, again, stole that postal carrier’s keys. The juvenile and Taffe then brought the keys back to Nassau, with the intent to use them, officials said.
The keys taken in the two robberies included a mail truck key and two other postal keys that open all mailboxes, collection boxes, parcel lockers and other USPS property on a mail carrier’s route, Donnelly said.
In both incidents Dupree sent Instagram messages to post keys in an attempt to sell them, according to the district attorney’s office.
Dupree surrendered to Nassau County police on Nov. 1, while Taffe was arrested by police in Valley Stream on Oct. 10.
The juvenile was arrested in Virginia on Oct. 25 and was extradited to New York earlier this week, authorities said.
Attorney Marc Gann of Collins, Gann, McCloskey & Barry LLC, Mineola, said of his client Dupree: "I haven't received any of the discovery. She certainly denies the allegations."
The attorney for Taffe, Mark D. Silverman of Freeport, said: "We're still reviewing the discovery provided by the district attorney."
“These individuals allegedly targeted mail carriers in Hempstead and Queens on their daily routes, stole multiple keys, and tried to sell them on the internet,” Donnelly said in a statement. " … We will not allow Nassau County’s dedicated mail carriers to be victimized. We are grateful to our partners at the United States Postal Inspection Service for their assistance in this prosecution.”