Cobb County

Thief arrested after being caught on camera stealing mail from Cobb County neighborhood

SMYRNA, Ga. — Police say they found 70 pieces of stolen mail in a man’s car. Video from a security camera shows the suspect in action.

It’s just before 2 a.m. on Atwater Drive in Smyrna. A security camera was positioned perfectly to catch the man’s every move.

He opens a mailbox, pulls out an envelope, places it in his pocket, looks directly into the camera, then walk he walks off.

Minutes later – he’s back. This time you see him go down a panel of mailboxes as he removes mail from each one.

“It’s kind of dark where you can’t see if he’s physically using a key, but he does open the full panel of the box,” a neighbor said, asking not to be identified.

The president of the HOA told Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell that she called the police as soon as she got the security camera alert -- giving officers just enough time to catch Riquardo Hawkins.

Investigators say they found a large amount of mail inside a green reusable bag on the passenger floor of Hawkins’ car.

Now he’s facing numerous felony charges.

It’s an end to a problem neighbors say they helped police solve.


“We as a community caught the guy two days after installing a camera,” the neighbor said.

“I’m real happy that they did that. They took the action and set up a camera,” homeowner Carter Hagler said.

The HOA president told Newell that she decided to install a security camera near the mailboxes after numerous neighbors complained about missing mail.

“I am missing mail, but I have no idea if it’s just lost in the mail or if it was stolen,” Hagler said. “I think it’s just important for people to know that this is happening.”

Police aren’t sure how Hawkins got inside the mailboxes but when you look at the security video, he seems like he did it effortlessly.

Newell asked police if Hawkins had a master key and they said they were looking into that.

The president of the HOA said she was told by the Postal Service that they’ve been investigating Hawkins for a year now.

Newell contacted USPS about that and about the master key. She’s still waiting to get an update from them on that.


Michele Newell

Michele Newell, WSB-TV

Michele Newell has been part of the WSB-TV family since November 2021. Before moving to Atlanta, Michele worked at TV news stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio and Steubenville, Ohio.