An Anacostia mail carrier and an alleged associate were indicted in federal court on charges that they stole boxes of blank checks from about 200 postal customers, arranged for accomplices with fake IDs to write checks for $425,000 in merchandise and then sold the goods for cash.

Herbert Bigby, 30, of Bowie, assigned to the Anacostia post office, and Richard Rosebar, 33, of the District, were each charged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with one count of conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud.

The indictment, filed Thursday, alleges that from February 1996 to January 1998, Bigby stole packages containing checks from the post office and sold the checks for $50 a box to Rosebar.

Prosecutors allege that Rosebar recruited "runners," furnished them with fake IDs and drove them to stores in Baltimore, the District and Northern Virginia, where they wrote checks for big-ticket items. Rosebar allegedly sold the merchandise in Maryland and the District, splitting the proceeds with the runners or paying them in blank checks.

Investigators said 13 other conspirators have been linked to the scheme. Each has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. Several have been sentenced. Their punishments have ranged from 30 days to 30 months in prison.

Investigators said postal inspectors were tipped off to the scheme last year when reports of missing checks began flooding into the Anacostia post office.

Bigby was assigned to the Anacostia post office from September 1994 to January 1998 and from February 1999 to May 1999.

For a short time between assignments, Bigby was stationed at the Customs House post office in the District. Bigby is free on bond. Rosebar remains in custody.