Two suspects committed a strong-arm robbery in Palo Alto of a United States Postal Service mail carrier last week, stealing her postal keys and cell phone. The victim sustained moderate injuries and the suspects are at large.
On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at about 1:59 p.m., the Palo Alto Police 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a mail carrier reporting she had been the victim of a strong-arm robbery that had occurred about 10 minutes earlier in the 3400 block of Alma Street. Officers responded immediately but could not locate the suspects.
The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her fifties, had been delivering mail in the area when two men approached her. One of them demanded her postal keys. When she refused to give them to him, the other suspect pushed her to the ground. They then forcibly took the keys and her cell phone and fled on foot.
The victim sustained moderate injuries (a chipped tooth, facial swelling, and pain to one wrist) caused when one of the suspects shoved her to the ground. Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department treated her at the scene.
The victim described the suspects as Hispanic males in their thirties, one about 5 feet 8 inches tall and the other about 5 feet 3 inches tall. Both were wearing all black clothing with face masks. They did not display any weapons.
Detectives are actively investigating this incident in collaboration with inspectors from the United States Postal Inspection Service. Robberies of mail carriers for postal keys, which are used to access locked Postal Service mailboxes, are not uncommon (though this is the first such case in recent memory here in Palo Alto). Thieves then use the keys to assist them in committing mail theft, which in turn facilitates identity theft, fraud, and other crimes.
Unauthorized possession of a postal key is a federal crime, a conviction of which can land someone in prison for up to ten years. The United States Postal Inspection Service encourages anyone who knows the location of any stolen postal keys or who has information about any robberies of mail carriers to contact their 24-hour hotline at (877) 876-2455. They offer a reward of up to $150,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspects.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.