Former postmaster sentenced for robbery conspiracy

Friday, August 1, 2014

Eagle Rock postmaster to serve nearly 4 years in prison

The former Eagle Rock postmaster has received a sentence of three years and eight months in federal prison for conspiring to rob or burglarize a convenience store in 2012.

Michael Joe Stubblefield, 51, of Cassville, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner in federal district court in Springfield on Thursday.

On Dec. 18, 2013, Stubblefield pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit robbery and to transporting stolen goods. On multiple occasions in March 2012, Stubblefield, then employed as the postmaster in Eagle Rock, met with confidential informants to coordinate a staged robbery or burglary at Uncle Roy's Convenience Store in Eagle Rock.

The informants cooperated with authorities and several of the conversations were recorded. Stubblefield asked one of the informants, an employee of the store, to provide detailed information about the location of cameras, closing operations and employee schedules, location of storage areas for valuable liquor and other specific details regarding the operation of the store.

Both confidential informants believed Stubblefield's inquiries reflected his desire to conduct a robbery when one of the informants was on duty at the convenience store or possibly a burglary of the facility. They told officers they believed Stubblefield planned to utilize the employee's access information to carry out the plan after the store was closed.

When that employee was terminated from the store, Stubblefield abandoned the plan of a staged robbery and turned his attention toward a possible take-over robbery. In addition to discussing the plan, Stubblefield also described how those taking part in the robbery could place cash, masks and other items related to the robbery in Postal Service packaging that Stubblefield would provide. After the robbery, co-conspirators would drop these items at the postal service drop box in front of the USPS facility in Eagle Rock. As Stubblefield was the only individual with access to this box, he would be able to retrieve the cash and other items from the drop box.

Stubblefield planned to create a diversion for law enforcement officers by having co-conspirators make a false 911 call while other co-conspirators robbed the store.

During the continuing investigation, investigators determined that Stubblefield had also intercepted and stole at least two shipments of precious metals bound for THR Associates, a company that buys gold and silver items. Stubblefield referred to these thefts during his contact with the confidential informants. The gold and silver items were sold for a total of $6,480.

The FBI, the U.S. Postal Service -- Office of Inspector General and the Barry County Sheriff's Department investigated the case. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Oliver and Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kelleher served as prosecutors.

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