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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
David Struett

$150,000 reward offered in robbery of letter carrier in Humboldt Park

Authorities say this man robbed a letter carrier in her work van on Nov. 10 in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. (U.S. Postal Inspection Service)

Authorities are offering up to $150,000 for information leading to the arrest of someone who robbed a letter carrier last week in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

The suspect wore a black cap and prescription glasses when he confronted a Postal Service worker about 12:30 p.m. Nov. 10, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The man held a firearm as he entered the postal employee’s van in the 900 block of North Francisco Avenue, Chicago police said.

The man ran off, and the 31-year-old female employee was not harmed, police said.

Authorities did not say what was stolen, but letter carriers have been targeted for their mailbox keys, which thieves use to steal letters from blue mailboxes. They use the checks inside to commit check fraud, or “check washing,” where they remove the ink and change the payment information.

The rate of those crimes and robberies of letter carriers rose dramatically in the past few years, prompting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to address what he called a “sustained crime wave” by raising rewards the service offers in criminal cases.

The rising rates of robbery and theft have drawn national attention. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, has sent DeJoy several public letters blasting what he called USPS’s “inadequate response” to address the rise in crime targeting postal employees.

In August, the Postal Service raised the rewards for tips leading to arrests in robberies of postal employees from $50,000 to $150,000. Information in murder cases was raised from $100,000 to $250,000.

The Postal Service presented its “Project Safe Delivery” plan to Congress in May to address postal crime. Since then, USPS has boasted of installing more than 10,000 blue collection boxes that use electronic locks instead of arrow keys.

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