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Chester man, 61, arrested in attempted robbery of post office

A 61-year-old Chester man — who was accused of being armed with an umbrella and a gun — has been arrested in an attempted robbery last month of the Chester Post Office.

The arrest of Charles Sampson, of the 200 block of West 21st Street, on Friday followed an announcement earlier in the week of a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest and conviction.

Sampson, charged with attempted robbery, is in federal custody and is scheduled for an initial appearance and detention hearing before a federal magistrate in Philadelphia at 1:30 p.m. Monday, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Sampson, also known as Charles Jones, went into the Chester Post Office, at 400 Edgmont Ave., at about 12:49 p.m. Nov. 30 wearing a mask and carrying a long golf-style umbrella, which was open in an effort to conceal his identity.

He pointed a firearm at and demanded cash from the employee at the counter, the affidavit says. Upon seeing the gun, the employee fled and exited the rear of the post office. 

Sampson was identified as the suspect based on information received from numerous tipsters, surveillance video and other information. On Friday, U.S. postal inspectors stopped Sampson after he left his residence. In a later interview that day, the affidavit says, Sampson admitted that he wore a ski mask, displayed a "fake gun" which looked real and carried an umbrella into the post office on Nov. 30 and demanded money. 

Sampson has a history of arrests and convictions dating to 1975, some of which involved robbery and weapon offenses, authorities said. He had previously pleaded guilty in May 1993 to a robbery the prior year and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. He served 18 years, was released in March 2011, and is on state parole until 2022.