U.S. postal service officials have sounded the alarm over at least six armed robberies on mail carriers that happened in Maryland and Washington, D.C., over a two-day period, according to a report.
"This alarming trend needs to stop," U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) spokesman Michael Martel said at a press conference. "It is a sad state of things when it comes down to robberies against someone that provides an essential service to our communities. But it’s happening here, and it’s got to end."
Declining to go into too much detail on a potential motive, Martel said the suspects are taking personal property as well as "a wide variety of items that the postal service provides their carriers to do their jobs on a daily basis," though he does not believe they have stolen any mail at this time.
In all six gunpoint robberies that occurred in the D.C. metro area, suspects had brandished a firearm. In two of those cases, the carriers were also assaulted and struck in the face or head. Martel said none of the carriers were hospitalized and sustained only minor injuries that did not require additional medical care.
Four robberies of postal service letter carriers occurred Friday ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
The first on Friday took place at 10:30 a.m. in Wheaton, Maryland, where a suspect approached a letter carried, brandished a firearm and demanded property before fleeing in black sedan, possibly an Infiniti.
Nearly 20 minutes later, another mail carrier was approached at gunpoint by a suspect who police said demanded property and fled the scene in a vehicle matching the same description. The suspect in both incidents was described as a Black male with a high-pitched voice, possibly in his 20s, wearing a black ski mask, all black clothing and standing between 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8.
At approximately 11:24 a.m. Friday, a suspect approached a mail carrier on his route in Northwest Washington, D.C., demanded property, and assaulted the letter carrier, striking him in his chin, police said.
The suspect snatched property and fled the scene in a black Mercedes.
The final incident that day happened at approximately 1:30 p.m. in Columbia, Maryland, where a suspect approached a letter carrier, brandished a firearm and demanded property.
The suspect in that incident was described as a thin Black male with a light complexion, standing about 5-foot-9 and wearing a red shirt.
Another two robberies were reported Thursday. At 12:55 p.m., a postal service letter carrier was delivering along a route in Takoma Park, Maryland, when approached by two suspects who brandished a weapon, demanded property and assaulted the carrier. They then fled in a black sedan.
At 1:18 p.m., approximately two miles away, a letter carrier was delivering along a route in Northeast Washington, D.C., when approached by two suspects, who brandished a firearm and demanded property before fleeing the area. In that case, the carrier was not injured, police said.
The suspects in both incidents were described as two young, slim Black males standing approximately 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 and wearing ski masks. One was wearing a dark-colored hoodie and jeans and was armed with a black and silver handgun. The second suspect was described as wearing a black hoodie and jeans. The two were said to have fled the area in a black sedan.
Martel announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest, identification and prosecution of the individuals involved. The amount is "substantial and reflects the commitment of the Postal Inspection Service to postal service letter carriers making their rounds for us," Martel said.
The reward applies to each incident at this time, he added, and anyone with information is asked to contact postal inspectors by calling 877-876-2455.