BOCA RATON, Fla. — The U.S. Postal Service is offering $50,000 rewards after a series of incidents where letter carriers were robbed this year at locations in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
The postal employees are being targeted by thieves wanting their master key to unlock mailboxes at apartment complexes.
Postal inspector Ivan Ramirez said the keys help thieves try to steal people's identities.
"If you have your hands on this key, now you have a valid address that you know the postal service is going to service," Ramirez said.
The first incident occurred May 23 at about 3:35 p.m. in Boca Raton at 1798 Northwest 15th Vista.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service described the attacker as being 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-7 with a skinny build and about 140 to 150 pounds.
Investigators said the person was wearing a full mask that was covering his face and possibly wearing a dark-colored sweater and pants. The robber fled on foot and may have entered a small black vehicle.
Mail Carriers Robbed in St. Lucie County
The second theft of a mail carrier occurred three days later in Fort Pierce on May 26.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said this crime occurred at 12:16 p.m. at 476 Atlantis Drive in Fort Pierce.
The subject was described as a young Black man, about 150 pounds, between 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7, wearing an all-black Polo brand jump/tracksuit with a red symbol. The person fled the scene in a dark-colored, four-door Lexus sedan.
The third case occurred on July 13 at 410 N 40th St. near Fort Pierce just before 12:30 p.m.
The attacker, in this case, was described as a Black man in his late 20s who was about 6 feet tall and about 160 pounds.
Investigators said he was in his late 20s, was wearing all dark clothing and fled in a dark-colored vehicle.
A fourth case was reported at 121 Broward St. in Palm Bay on July 19 at 1:24 p.m.
A fifth mail carrier robbery was reported in Vero Beach on July 19 at 3 p.m. at 2205 Vero Beach Avenue.
A sixth armed robbery happened at about 12:19 p.m. on Aug. 6 at 3550 S US Highway 1 in Fort Pierce.
This attacker was described as a Black man about 5-foot-8 with a skinny build and weighing 150 pounds. The robber had his hair in small dreadlocks and/or braids.
Investigators said the man had a white t-shirt partially covering his face and was wearing a t-shirt and dark pants. The postal service said he fled on foot and may have entered a small red vehicle.
Rodriguez said apartment complexes that might be impacted have been notified to consider changing their mail locks. He said they are looking into whether all of the robberies are related.
"Whether they’re the same group or not, they’re familiar with what the other group is doing," Ramirez said.
Rodriguez said it's important for people who get their mail from locked boxes in those areas to watch their credit and take note if they're not getting the mail they are supposed to get. Also, if you see anyone suspicious around the mailboxes without postal service clothing or at strange hours, call 911 and don't approach them.
"They're obviously a danger, we consider them armed and dangerous," Ramirez said.
A reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robbers is being offered in all of these cases.
If you have any information about these crimes, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.