DAYTON — Just days after a local mail carrier was robbed at gunpoint your money could now be at risk, according to a new warning by the union representing postal police officers.
Wednesday’s warning comes after a mail carrier in Harrison Twp. was targeted by armed robbers who took an arrow key, which is a master key that open bulk mailboxes like ones outside post offices or on street corners.
The robbery was the latest example of what postal police union leaders call the “mail theft epidemic” where criminals target the keys so they can get access to hundreds of pieces of mail and pull off identity theft on a massive scale.
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“Every day another letter carrier has a gun stuck in his or her face. It’s a major problem,” Frank Albergo, President of the Postal Police Officers Association told the I-Team’s John Bedell on News Center 7 at 5:00.
“Dayton should hold on, because what’s going to happen now is you’re going to see a spike in mail theft. You’re going to see identity stolen. You’re going to see bank accounts drained. You’re going to see check fraud.”
“It’s a disaster. It’s an absolute disaster,” Albergo warned.
This weekend’s robbery in Harrison Twp. has led the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to offer a $150,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the two robbers.
In direct response to the increase in mail theft robberies, the Postal Service and USPIS to launch a new initiative called ‘project Safe Delivery,’ earlier this year designed to protect postal workers and the mail stream.
The initiative calls for replacing tens of thousands of outdated arrow keys for electronic locks and installing thousands of high-security blue collection boxes that are harder to break into.
But even with all the changes in the works and already implemented, Albergo said the issue of mail theft remains a violent problem both here in the Miami Valley and across the country.
“Mail theft has been going on for three years and it’s just getting worse and worse and worse. And who’s suffering? Well, it’s postal employees and postal customers,” Albergo said.
And the constant threat of mail theft has many postal customers here in the Miami Valley already taking precautions and thinking twice before dropping a letter in the blue bins.
“I stopped putting mail in the box. I always take it inside. I saw on the news where they were robbing the mail men and breaking into mailboxes,” Gwendolyn Adams-Kyles of Huber Heights said.
Others are also changing their habits every time they visit the post office.
“I only put mail in there during the day when I know there are people that are coming out, you know, to pick up,” Martha Bernard of Huber Heights told the I-Team on News Center 7 at 5.
“It’s because I have been concerned hearing about the fact that they have been testing these boxes. And I don’t feel it’s 100 percent safe after the Post Office has closed.”
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