Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. This famous, informal postal service motto didn’t address armed robbery. Indeed, armed robbery will temporarily stay the swift completion of mail delivery service.
Have you ever had your mail stolen? It’s a big problem. In the fiscal year 2022 (October 2021 – September 2022), the United States Postal Service (USPS) reported thugs robbed 412 letter carriers. In the first half of the 2023 fiscal year (October 2022 – March 2023), USPS reported 305 letter carriers had already been robbed, putting the annual projection around 600, an approximate increase of 50%.
Law enforcement apprehended four men in the letter carrier robbery featured in this post. One man robbed the letter carrier at gunpoint and stole the control key to cluster mailboxes. For several days, all the men used the key to rob mailboxes—mostly looking for bank cards, checks, purchased goods they could sell.
When the news about the letter carrier robbery hit the news, there was a reward offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Two of the men tried to cash in on the reward by implicating one of the other two men.
The two men planted the stolen cluster box key in a co-conspirator’s car where he slept and then called in the tip. After arresting the man with the planted key, and through the law enforcement investigation, they arrested all four men and charged them.
Rather than go to trial, the four men pleaded guilty to federal charges. The man who robbed the letter carrier also pleaded guilty to armed robbery. A judged sentence him to ten years in prison. The court sentenced the remaining three men to prison for 34 months, twenty-four months, two months, respectively.
AU.S. Attorney associated with these cases said,
“Mail carriers play an important part in the everyday workings of our country’s mail system, economy, and critical infrastructures. They should be able to do their jobs without the fear of being robbed or assaulted.”
To improve services and combat theft, the USPS has started Project Safe Delivery focused on reducing letter carrier thefts, mail theft, change of address fraud, and counterfeit postage. You may see new, more secure, blue drop boxes that you cannot reach from the inside of your car.
One way the USPS says you can help is to sign up for Informed Delivery and retrieve your mail asap. A friend told me about it (thank you SH). After you’ve signed up for it, the post office notifies you when a carrier puts mail in your box, often including a photo like many shipping services do now. Here’s the link if you’re interested in Informed Delivery (I don’t think this is an option if you use a P.O. Box for mail).
Source: United States Department of Justice, USPS News, USA Today