SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Joplin man and woman were indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to steal mail from Joplin residents, and in a separate conspiracy to commit bank wire fraud, according to The United States Department of Justice.
The nine-count indictment, returned August 29th, alleges Aaron Blake, 27, and Emily Sturgis, 30, participated in bank fraud, and mail theft conspiracy from December 2022 to January 26th, 2023.
Specifically, the indictment says Blake and Sturgis stole checks, credit and debit cards, cash, and identifying documents from Joplin mailboxes. In one case, they allegedly stole Pandora jewelry, in another, a Christmas card containing a $500 check. The duo is also accused of fraudulently obtaining a credit card via a stolen W-2 form.
Blake and Sturgis reportedly used the stolen credit cards to fund local purchases from area businesses. With the money, authorities say, they rented a room at a Carthage motel where they stored the stolen mail. Jasper County authorities say much of that mail was eventually recovered, as seen in the video above.
The duo was arrested on January 26th when Jasper County deputies received a tip about a blue sedan stealing mail. Authorities located Blake and Sturgis at a Casey’s General Store in Carl Junction, and say they found stolen mail in their possession.
In addition to the two conspiracy charges, Blake and Sturgis are charged together in three counts of bank fraud and three counts of possessing stolen mail. Blake is also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Clark. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Carthage, Mo., Police Department and the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.