Richmond postal carrier robbed at gunpoint; people urged to avoid using blue drop boxes

A mailbox is seen in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Posted at 6:10 PM, Mar 29, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- A mail carrier was robbed at gunpoint in downtown Richmond Thursday, according to Richmond's Commonwealth Attorney. The incident is the latest issue facing USPS as safety and mail delivery complaints continue.

Richmond Commonwealth Attorney Colette McEachin wrote about the robbery on E. Franklin Street on Next Door through the office's official account.

"The armed assailant demanded her arrow key, a regional key used by carriers to open the USPS exterior blue mailboxes, outdoor parcel lockers, cluster box units, and apartment panels," the post read.

"Fortunately, she was not injured. As we are in the height of tax season, with checks and other important financial documents containing personal information headed to the IRS, we continue to warn residents to STOP PLACING MAIL IN THE BLUE U.S.P.S. MAILBOXES. Instead, you may want to file electronically, pay online, and closely monitor anticipated bills/invoices to avoid incurring late fees or penalties when the bill and/or your payment is not delivered on time," the post continued.

After asking for more details, Richmond Police referred CBS 6 to the U.S. Postal Inspector for more details. A message to the public affairs officer at USPS was not returned Friday.

In Richmond and beyond, robberies targeting postal workers, vehicles, and boxes have reportedly been on the uptick.

WATCH: Richmond man worried about safety of his neighborhood mail carrier.

He's concerned about postal safety. Now he looks out for his mail carrier: 'Every day I'm on this porch'

Meanwhile, the USPS Inspector General released a report earlier in the week that found issues with relocating equipment as a part of the Postal Service's ongoing overhaul of mail processing and distribution. As a part of a 10-year nationwide plan to modernize those processes, the Sandston facility in Henrico was one of the first in the country to undergo major changes.

Officials have said that overhaul was to blame, in part, for the hundreds of complaints about delayed or no-show mail in Central Virginia over the past few months.

The inspector general audit found local managers at several processing and distribution facilities, including Sandston, were not fully aware or briefed on their responsibilities and roles in relocating processing equipment. The report also found some locations failed to properly label and document equipment, per USPS policy.

Postal Service leaders responded to the audit saying they agreed with many of the findings and are working to fully implement the recommendations within it as USPS continues with its overhaul of operations.

You can check out that full audit here.

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