3 arrested for robbing mail carriers in different Florida counties

Three accused robbers will be facing federal charges for robbing two different United States Postal Service (USPS) mail carriers in Florida, in one day.

The first robbery of the day happened in Brevard County. A postal carrier says two or three people came over, held him at gunpoint, and demanded what’s called an arrow key. That’s a mailbox master key that’s been in high demand recently.

U.S. Postal Inspector Rick Johnsten says he had just been Oviedo earlier in the day, talking with mail carriers about the rise in crime targeting mail carriers.

"It has become more common," said Johnsten. "The last few years, robberies have definitely increased, as crime has increased nationwide. Up until recently, we hadn’t had many, but over the last couple years, it just seems to have increased substantially."

After the incident in Brevard County, the USPS says the robbers made their way to Orange County and did the same thing to another mail carrier in the Pine Hills area. People living there told FOX 35 News they’d never heard of a crime like that.

"What are you gonna do with the key?" one woman said to FOX 35 after hearing about the crime. 

The goal, the USPS says, is usually to get people’s checks, or get information they can use to steal their identities. 

The USPS says there were 412 USPS mail carriers robbed in Fiscal year 2022. There have already been 305 robberies in the first half of this fiscal year. Theft from mail receptacles has gone up too, with 38,500 in Fiscal year 2022, and 25,000 already in Fiscal Year 2023.

"When you’re caught robbing a mail carrier, and you’re indicted federally or prosecuted federally, you’re looking at years in prison," said Johnsten.

The USPS just announced Friday that it’s rolling out new crime prevention measures.  There are new versions of those blue drop boxes we’re used to seeing that are harder to break into. The agency is also trying out electronic locks instead of using the arrow keys.