USPS moving toward electronic ‘keys’ to thwart postal thefts

Mail Carrier Robbed

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – With crimes against postal carriers on the rise locally, U.S. Postal Inspectors are offering a $150,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in one of Rochester’s most recent cases. 

A postal carrier was robbed during the day in front of Brambury Ridge Apartment Complex off of Carter Street on Jan. 9th. Investigators believe the carrier was targeted as the suspect fled in an SUV waiting along Route 104.

On the same day, “We had another carrier on Lyell Avenue assaulted, where she was merely sitting there eating lunch, and a stranger, never talked to before, nothing, just walked up and punched her in the face,” explains Kenny Montgomery, the local president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. 

A few weeks before that, “We had one carrier who was robbed, he handed over everything he had and kind of went to look at the license plate of the car that the guy was getting back into, and with that, everybody got out of the car. There [were] more people in the car. They got out and started beating him with sticks,” says Montgomery. 

Sometimes the thieves want packages or mail that might have checks inside that can be “washed” and counterfeited, but mostly they’re looking for postal keys that give mail carriers access to blue boxes, apartment buildings, and businesses. 

“It’s a crime of convenience for the thieves. We try to tell our carriers all the time to try to protect yourself at all times by being aware of your surroundings. If you don’t feel safe, leave,” Montgomery says. 

The Postal Service is making changes to try and thwart thieves. Traditional postal keys will soon be useless.

“The postal service is moving to an electronic key, basically where you would have to have a code with a scanner that can be turned off instantly if it’s stolen,” explains Montgomery. 

But until every postal carrier shifts to the new technology, U.S. Postal Inspectors continue to search for and find the robbers. A number of arrests have been made in Monroe County over the last year. Some cases are still pending; other suspects have been convicted and sentenced to time in federal prison. 

If you have any information about this incident at Brambury Ridge, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 (say “law enforcement’) and reference case number 4227142.