Push to protect mail carriers grows after workers attacked on their routes

CHARLOTTE — After a postal worker was kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint in south Charlotte, there’s a new push to protect letter carriers on their daily routes.

The attacks are becoming far too common. Just this year, at least 24 letter carriers have been attacked on the job in the U.S., according to news reports gathered by the Postal Police Officers Association.

Channel 9’s Almiya White learned that agency used to protect letter carriers in high-crime areas, but those protections were taken away three years ago. Then came the alarming trend of mail carriers being attacked.

A Charlotte letter carrier who didn’t want to be identified said his chances of being robbed, attacked, or even shot at is a reality letter carriers face daily.

“If you’re going to put us out here at risk in some of these neighborhoods, with some of the incidents that’s been happening, I mean, it’s kind of like sending us on a dummy mission,” he said.

There have been two recent attacks on letter carriers in Charlotte. Back in December, we reported someone shot at a carrier in the Madison Park neighborhood. And then just last week, White reported about a carrier who was kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint in south 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 in that second case.

Frank Alberho is the president of the Postal Police Officers Association.

“We have a mail theft epidemic on our hands,” he said. “Carriers are being attacked and mail was being stolen at unprecedented levels.”

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is in charge of protecting mail carriers. There used to be a police force that patrolled the streets, but in 2020, a law restricted that protection to just postal buildings.

“Mail theft has exploded and attacks on postal workers is the norm rather than the exception,” Alberho said.

He’s been keeping track of mail theft through news reports. He said so far this year, there’s been 24 reports of letter carriers attacked nationwide. That averages to about one per day.

“That’s ridiculous. This January is not even over yet,” Alberho said.

“It’s alarming, but it’s also very numbing. Because what’s to be done in order to protect the letter carrier?” he asked.

Alberho believes bringing the Postal Police force back would make a difference.

“Years ago, you would never think of attacking a mail carrier. It was unheard of,” Alberho said. “Now apparently, criminals don’t think twice about it.”

He said mail carriers are just people doing a job and want to return to their families.

“Protect the carrier,” Alberho said. “You go to work -- everybody goes to work and wants to come back home to their family.”

Alberho is working to restore the Postal Police force’s former duties. He’s also hoping for a mail theft prevention bill, which would replace the arrow key with an electronic device for mail carriers.

(WATCH BELOW: 9 Investigates: Thieves can steal checks from the mail and sell them on the dark web)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV