Mail thieves hold up letter carriers in Sacramento County, stealing master key to mailboxes

Mail thieves hold up letter carriers in Sacramento County, stealing master key to mailboxes

By Michelle Bandur

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) – Investigators said mail thieves in California are targeting letter carriers who hold master keys to groups of mailboxes.

“Keys go into some mailboxes, so mail thieves see this as a more efficient way to steal mail,” said Postal Inspector Matthew Norfleet.

In two recent incidents in Sacramento County, armed suspects held two carrier papers. The crimes happened within three days and 10 miles of each other.

The first took place inside the Rivercrest apartment complex on December 17 at 6:00 p.m

The suspect was armed with a semi-automatic handgun that the carrier believed to be a Glock with a red and white striped slide.

A vehicle was seen near the mailboxes around the same time as the robbery, investigators said. The vehicle left the apartment complex about 15 seconds after the suspect passed the camera. Investigators can’t say if it’s related.

“It concerns me on all levels because we wouldn’t want to lose a letter carrier to their robbery,” said Keisha Lewis, national business agent for the National Letter Carriers Association.

She said employees are becoming more fearful at work and want to see safety changes, such as not working for hours in the dark.

“We need to make sure that post offices are properly staffed so that letter carriers can get off in a timely manner,” Lewis said.

The second Sacramento County incident occurred on Dec. 20 at approximately 2:30 p.m. in Rio Linda. Investigators said two men got out of a light gray Dodge Charger, one wearing a black mask, and robbed the postal worker at gunpoint, taking the mailbox key.

A second male suspect attempted to open the passenger side door of the mail truck.

Neighbors told investigators the Charger made a loud gas sound as it sped away.

Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers featured two armed robberies of letter carriers as the crime of the week.

Some postal inspectors are now following letter carriers on their routes, trying to prevent further violent detentions.

Norfleet was in the Bay Area, wearing his ballistic gear as he watched the letter carriers deliver the mail.

“I’m out right now with card-carriers keeping their eyes open so no one comes near them,” Norfleet said. “It’s terrible. This is not the first report of cardholders at gunpoint and is absolutely unacceptable.”

Lewis also asks the community to look out for letter carriers when they deliver mail on their routes.

None of the letter carriers were injured in the robberies. Possession of a postal key and assault on a letter carrier are federal crimes.

Lewis said NALC has requested a meeting with postal inspectors, the Postal Service and the Office of the Inspector General. She said they want to seek security measures and protection.

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