PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — There was yet another instance of mail theft in a matter of a week at a Riviera Beach mailbox, making it the third in six weeks.
This comes as businesses in Riviera Beach claim to be the latest victims of check washing after mail was stolen from their mailbox.
In the latest incident Thursday night, two people used a postal key to steal from local businesses, the third time in six weeks and second in a week at Woodbine Commons on Military Trail in Riviera Beach.
Postal Police Officer Enda Sepulveda said the sole purpose of her job is to protect and serve the postal service. She said right now her job is more important than ever. However, in the last couple of years, she said her job has become substantially harder.
"Their [postal workers'] job is more dangerous than ever," Sepulveda said. "Mail theft and attacks on carriers has skyrocketed. It's out of control."
President of the Postal Police Officers Association Frank Albergo said their police force has diminished in the last couple of years.
"Postal Police Officers have one mission, and that's to protect the mail and postal employees," he said.
Albergo said they now have approximately 350 officers nationwide whereas they used to have upwards of 2,700. He also told WPTV, postal police are now only able to respond or make arrests if an incident happens on Postal Service property, which does not include residential mailboxes.
"In 2020, they basically began dismantling the Postal Police force," Albergo said. "They stripped us of our policing power, and since then there's been a 27% decrease in our staffing. So, it's been an all out attack on the Postal Police force during a mail theft epidemic."
Meanwhile, the number of incidents involving postal workers is on the rise.
The U.S. Postal Inspector has not yet provided WPTV with the total number of incidents in the last year. But Sepulveda said there are several calls coming into their office in Miami every week.
Albergo said the attacks wouldn't have escalated to this point if they had more officers and more jurisdiction.
"When we're needed most, that's when they decided to get rid of us," he said.
The United States Postal Inspection Services sent WPTV the following statement:
Sepulveda and Albergo told WPTV they are now calling on Congress for help in getting their police force and their jurisdictions back.