AUGUSTA — A city man previously convicted of robbery faces federal charges of stealing business checks from mail boxes, altering the payee, and cashing them for thousands of dollars at banks in Maine and Massachusetts.

Ryan Robert Pomerleau, 31, is charged with theft of mail, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He previously spent years behind bars in connection with a 2008 robbery and assault at a home in Manchester.

Pomerleau was arrested Monday in New Hampshire, and appeared before Magistrate Justice John H. Rich III on Tuesday who ordered Pomerleau held in custody pending another hearing 10 a.m. next Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. Attorney David R. Beneman from the Federal Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Pomerleau.

According to an affidavit by U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Desrosiers, the investigation began when Augusta police arrested another man, William K. Seabron, on burglary charges in July and recovered mail he had discarded in a Dumpster at the Augusta motel where he was living. Desrosiers’ affidavit says the mail recovered when Seabron was arrested was addressed to “multiple different businesses located at 60 Industrial Drive, Augusta.”

Seabron told police Pomerleau had used a typewriter to alter several checks mailed from businesses to make Seabron the payee and drove him to several banks in Augusta, where the checks were cashed successfully.

Seabron also said Pomerleau invited him to go “mail diving” to steal mail from post office collection boxes in Massachusetts, according to the affidavit.


Seabron was indicted in August on charges of robbery, misuse of identification, theft by unauthorized taking and two counts of trafficking of scheduled drugs — marijuana and buprenorphine. He was one of a trio of alleged purse thieves who police stopped in a taxi at gunpoint in July.

The federal one-count complaint against Pomerleau says hu stole a letter addressed to a Kittery hardware store that had been left in a U.S. Postal Service collection box in Kittery on Aug. 9. While the original check was written for $83.77, it was cashed by Pomerleau in Portland for $700, Derosiers’ affidavit says.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Moore is seeking to have Pomerleau kept in jail because of his criminal history. Moore also said Pomerleau has not been living in Maine and was staying most recently at a New Hampshire hotel. Moore also said Pomerleau’s pickup is registered in North Carolina, and there is a warrant for his arrest from that state.

Published reports indicate Pomerleau was arrested in June in Mecklenburg County on a misdemeanor larceny charge and a month earlier on a traffic charge. He was arrested in Augusta in July and police at that time reported finding multiple X-Acto knives and a typewriter in his pickup truck.

In November 2008, Pomerleau was sentenced in Kennebec County Superior Court to eight years in prison with all but 30 months suspended and three years’ probation in connection with the Manchester home invasion where one of the men wielded a ball peen hammer.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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