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Police: Man plucked mail from Tarpon Springs box

(ran North, South editions of Pasco Times)

Police on Wednesday arrested a Holiday man after officers said he stole a local couple's mail, and said they are investigating whether he had taken other people's mail as well.

Alan Charles Keehn, 29, came to the attention of Tarpon Springs police after he called Arnold and Ellen Block of Tarpon Springs and told them he found their mail, including some checks, in a Pasco County parking lot.

The Blocks went to his home at 1710 Holiday Drive to retrieve their mail and gave him $20 as a reward, police said. Suspicious of how he got their mail in the first place, they also called police.

Keehn told police he found a pile of papers, including the checks, in a parking lot when his car broke down. He also said he had not opened any of the mail.

The Blocks, however, told police they had dropped their mail into a drive-through mailbox at the Tarpon Springs post office at 850 E Lime St. And they said all the checks were in envelopes and all the envelopes went into the mailbox.

Police and postal inspectors started an investigation and found mail from about a half-dozen people, including the Blocks, in a garbage can at Keehn's home, Tarpon Springs police Detective Dennis E. Craft said. Among that mail were the envelopes that had contained checks.

The value of all the checks that police said were in the mail found at Keehn's house is more than $1,000.

Craft said investigators aren't sure how Keehn would have gotten other people's mail out of the mailbox, but he said it's possible that something might have obstructed the door to the box so that it was part-way open and that mail might have backed up. That would have made it easy for someone to reach in and take the mail.

"We're hoping this is an isolated incident," Craft said.

Still, postal inspectors plan to contact everyone whose mail was found at Keehn's home. Police are asking anyone who dropped their mail into the drive-through drop box at the Tarpon Springs post office on Monday to call Craft at (727) 938-2849.

Keehn was charged with grand theft and violating his probation on charges of scheming to defraud and possession of controlled substances. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail Monday night without bail.