In Broward County, two Miami men are accused of stealing mail and two mail-in ballots from a post office dropbox.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that a police officer on duty noticed the two men lingering around a mailbox in Lighthouse Point late Tuesday.
According to reports, the officer stopped to question 28-year-old Junior Alexander Cabral and 20-year-old Vladimir Cabral Cuevas, after he spotted a bag of mail wedged between the front seat and center console of their car. The officer also noticed a device used to fish mail out of a drop box with two mail-in ballots separated from the rest of the mail.
Records show that Cabral and Cuevas were charged with stealing ballots, fraud, and petty theft.
With Election Day being so close, the Broward Judge Corey Amanda Cawthon expressed her concerns about the allegations during the first court appearance.
“I’m not going to speculate as to the intentions behind the allegations, what mail was intended to be recovered or not,” she said. “But, I do have to take notice of the fact we have a very big election coming up next week and the timing seems to be aggravating in Mr. Cabral’s case.”
Cuevas defense attorney Richard Cooper, said this case is not what it appears.
In a statement issued to the newspapers on Thursday, he said, “My client was charged incorrectly by overzealous law enforcement looking to fill an empty narrative that would make a politically expedient mountain out of a molehill given the proximity to the general election.”
Broward assistant state attorney Katherine David requested a $10,000 bond for the ballot theft charge since Cabral and Cuevas had no prior convictions.
The judge set bonds totaling $3,025 for each defendant.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is also involved in the investigation.
Lighthouse Point police Cmdr. Jack Vaccaro said “We are making arrangements to return these two ballots to their owners so they can deliver them to be counted.” The two mail-in ballots won’t be held as evidence.