PORTLAND — An Auburn man Tuesday denied charges stemming from the robberies of two U.S. postal carriers and burglaries of two U.S. post offices in central Maine.

Winston O. McLeod Submitted photo

Winston O. McLeod, 31, appeared in handcuffs and a jail suit in U.S. District Court, where he entered not guilty pleas to five federal charges.

A federal grand jury indicted McLeod last month of conspiracy to rob U.S. postal carriers and burglarize U.S. post offices, as well as two counts of burglary of a U.S. post office.

Each of those three charges is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

McLeod also was charged with two counts of robbery of a U.S. postal carrier; each count is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

He is being held in federal custody at Strafford County Department of Corrections in Dover, New Hampshire, until his trial, which is scheduled for May 6.


McLeod may seek his release before trial by filing a motion for a detention hearing, according to U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Karen Frink Wolf, who presided over Tuesday’s arraignment.

Investigators said McLeod and an accomplice, Lance Funderburk of Orange, New Jersey, robbed two letter carriers in Lewiston and burglarized post offices in Paris and North Monmouth in January.

Funderburk is scheduled to be arraigned on the same charges as McLeod on Wednesday.

Police arrested McLeod in Rumford on Jan. 22 on charges of criminal mischief, burglary, violation of condition of release and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, all related to the break-in at the post office at 39 Tremont St. on Paris Hill in Paris.

On March 20, a grand jury indicted McLeod and Funderburk on the federal felony charges.

On Jan. 20, postal inspectors were notified of the armed robberies of two postal carriers just minutes apart in Lewiston, according to an affidavit sworn by Emily Spera, a U.S. postal inspector and spokesperson for the United States Postal Service’s Boston Division.


Neither carrier was injured during the alleged robberies, Spera said.

The first robbery happened at 20 Davis St., Lewiston; the second, at 480 Main St., Lewiston, Spera wrote in her affidavit.

The first carrier described the robber as a Black man who wore a ski mask and brandished a knife, she wrote.

That carrier told police the suspect’s vehicle was a small white SUV driven by a Black man.

The robber told the carrier to “give me the mailbox key,” then fled with the carrier’s postal vehicle keys and personal cellphone.

The second carrier said he had been outside of his postal vehicle at 480 Main St., Lewiston when he was approached by a Black male who told him: “give me your key or I’ll kill you,” Spera wrote.


The suspect held a knife at the carrier’s throat, then his ribs, Spera wrote.

The carrier described the knife as a black “butterfly” knife, about 6 inches long, Spera wrote.

That carrier gave the vehicle key to the robber, who jumped into the passenger seat of a white vehicle parked nearby, Spera wrote.

Investigators gathered surveillance video of the first alleged robbery and identified the getaway vehicle as a white Jeep SUV.

On Jan. 20, shortly after 3 p.m., Rumford police stopped a Ford Mustang with Pennsylvania plates on Route 108 that was driven by Funderburk, Spera wrote.

McLeod, who sat in the passenger seat and wore a baseball cap and a black balaclava that covered his face, gave police a fake name, Spera wrote.


Funderburk was carrying two knives, including a black “butterfly” knife that matched the description given by one of the Lewiston robbery victims, Spera wrote.

During a search, a police dog alerted to narcotics in the vehicle and police found several checks written to different recipients, evidence believed to be related to the burglaries and robberies.

A white Jeep SUV matching the surveillance video vehicle arrived at the scene of the search and its driver told police the Mustang was his rental car that he had allowed Funderburk and McLeod to use, Spera wrote

According to her affidavit, entry to the Paris Post Office was made through a window under which investigators found two cellphones in the snow.

One of the phone’s lock screens had an image of a man and a woman. Using facial recognition software, analysts were able to determine the man in the image was McLeod.

Later, during a search of a vehicle in which Funderburk was hiding, police found evidence linking him to the crimes, including work gloves, lighters, Vaseline, assorted keys (including those stolen in the robberies), a key fob, a black multitool, $1,005 in cash, a black matte butterfly knife and four cellphones, Spera wrote.

During a body cavity search of Funderburk, officers found two postal keys, Spera wrote.

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