CHICAGO — After shooting a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier during a robbery on the Northwest Side yesterday, a holdup crew robbed another postal worker in Logan Square, officials said. And we have learned that Chicago police are working to determine if the group also tried to carjack a couple in Logan Square but got scared off because the victims had a dog in the vehicle.
At about 3:32 p.m., two armed men tried to rob a 52-year-old mail carrier in the 3200 block of North Kildare. Officials said one of the robbers fired a round, striking the postal worker in the leg.
Initially reported to be critically injured, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service later said his condition had stabilized.
After shooting the mail carrier, the crew targeted another postal worker in the 1800 block of North Sawyer.
Three men wearing all black clothing got out of a white Kia sedan and robbed her of mail, her work truck keys, and a postal service master key used to open mailboxes.
Postal inspectors released a short surveillance video and a photo of their getaway car, with an “EvergreenKia.com” sticker across the back window and Illinois plate BF73931. The agency is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads them to the offenders.
The tip line is 877-876-2455.
Chicago police records show the Kia was reported stolen from the 1500 block of North Wood yesterday.
About an hour before the first mail carrier was shot, a group of men traveling in a white sedan robbed and tried to carjack a couple in the 2600 block of West North Avenue in Logan Square. That’s about a mile due west from where the Kia was stolen.
The couple told police that three men wearing ski masks took their valuables at gunpoint and then started to steal their minivan. But the robbers decided not to take the van after they opened the door and found the couple’s dog inside.
An officer who responded to the scene said the robbers were all Black males. One had twists in his hair and wore a black sweater with a white stripe and a black ski mask.
Mail theft by crews using stolen postal service master keys has become so widespread that the U.S. Postal Service has advised people not to put mail into its blue mailboxes after the last collection time.
Mail thieves might occasionally score a valuable package or an envelope containing a birthday gift card from someone’s grandma. But experts say the real value comes from identity theft and check fraud mills, which use information from stolen mail to steal people’s identities and checks.
Highly organized identity theft and fraud organizations use stolen postal service master keys, called “arrow keys,” to steal large volumes of mail from public mailboxes and residential building mailrooms.
In May, a joint operation involving postal inspectors and Chicago police netted an arrest after investigators allegedly saw a man use an arrow key to steal mail from one of the postal service’s ubiquitous blue mailboxes in the West Loop.
And in March, another man was charged with possessing two forged postal service master keys, also known as “arrow keys,” during a traffic stop on the North Side. Prosecutors said the man also had a trove of financial information, including W2 forms and checks.
Prosecutors charged another man in February with burglarizing the mailroom of a single Lakeview apartment building 14 times in nine weeks. Patrick Slagel allegedly admitted to being a “jogger,” the slang term for people who collect bulk mail in theft scams, and to using postal service master keys that were either provided by relatives of USPS employees or were bought or stolen.