CHARLOTTE — The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects after one of its employees was kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint on Jan. 19.
It happened on Candlewood Drive, which is in a neighborhood near South Boulevard in south Charlotte. According to the report, a mailman was robbed while delivering packages to homes there.
The three suspects, considered armed and dangerous, are in their early-20s and were wearing black at the time of the crime. They drove off in a white four-door sedan.
A neighbor told Channel 9′s Almiya White the incident has her worried for her safety, and others said they’re on edge.
“I was kind of confused what was going on,” Julie Brown said.
Brown described the scene to White.
“There were cars everywhere, people were standing in our yard,” she said. “There were crime scene investigators. So we started kind of doing some digging and found out what happened about the mailman.”
Brown had just gotten home Thursday afternoon when she learned her mail carrier had been robbed. According to the report, a 66-year-old postal employee was kidnapped at gunpoint around 6:30 p.m. that day.
He told police his arrow key, which is what postal workers use to unlock mailboxes, was stolen, along with his phone.
“It sounds like something out of a scary movie,” Brown said. “It’s definitely concerning, especially with a little one.”
Brown said she’s also concerned about mail carriers being seen as easy targets.
“He typically parks his car here and does the street in front of us, and down this way a little bit, and then he just kind of has to move his vehicle down the road as he’s delivering it. And he is, I mean, very vulnerable,” she said.
Brown said while she considers her neighborhood safe, she plans to be more aware of her surroundings.
“I don’t think that I’ll be leaving and getting home late at night by myself anytime soon. It’s definitely scary,” she said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told White the investigation was still in the early stages, so they are not currently able to provide details.
Channel 9 has investigated these crimes several times. Criminals target drop-off mailboxes, steal the mail inside, find the checks, and then cash them in. Sometimes, they even forge the checks.
Earlier this month, CMPD said financial crimes were up 41% last year from the previous year.
If you have any information about the Candlewood Drive incident, you’re asked to call Charlotte Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
(WATCH BELOW: 9 Investigates a rise in attacks on mail carriers to steal mailbox keys)
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