Whopping $150,000 rewards offered in two Chicago postal worker robberies

CHICAGO — The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a pair of $150,000 rewards for information that leads to the arrests and convictions of the people responsible for robbing two mail carriers in Chicago last year. One of the robberies occurred about a block from the Chicago Police Department’s training academy.

That robbery occurred around 11:30 a.m. on November 26, 2022, in the 1300 block of West Van Buren. Two men, both wearing masks, rolled up in a dark SUV, pulled a gun on the postal worker, and demanded the carrier’s work keys, a CPD report said. After getting what they wanted, the men told the postal worker to run away.

Stolen postal service master keys, also known as “arrow keys,” are used by theft crews that steal checks, credit cards, and documents to fuel identity theft operations. Some thieves who use the stolen keys even wear postal service uniform parts as a disguise.

In a new reward bulletin issued Thursday, postal inspectors published video images of the two suspects running and of their SUV, a gray 2018 Jeep Compass bearing Indiana dealer tag 69304B. One of the suspects is a Black man between 20 and 25 years old who stands 5’7″ tall. He wore a black ski mask, a dark hoodie, and blue jeans.

Video images released by postal inspectors show two men suspected of robbing a mail carrier in the 1300 block of West Van Buren and their getaway car. | United States Postal Inspection Service

The reward is also available for information about whoever robbed another mail carrier in the 5300 block of West Washington on September 15, 2022. Chicago police said last year that a man followed a postal worker into a vestibule and robbed them at gunpoint around 1 p.m.

Officials say the robber was described as a Black male between 20 and 25 years old who stood about 6’1″ tall. He wore a red hoodie and black mask and is believed to have fled in this early-2000s silver Audi sedan.

The suspected getaway car of the man who robbed a postal worker in the 5300 block of West Washington on September 15, 2022. | United States Postal Inspection Service

Separate rewards are being offered for the two cases, postal inspectors said Thursday.

Anyone with information can contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455. The Van Buren robbery case number is 3911079, and the Washington case number is 3832838. Officials said all information would be kept strictly confidential.

After last year’s robbery on Van Buren, a CWB source explained that mail thieves are “part of a larger operation that uses stolen mail to open checking accounts and launder stolen checks,” among other crimes.

In one tricky scheme known as “check washing,” criminals use common chemicals to erase ink on stolen checks, then write the check for a large sum. The fraudulent checks are then either cashed or sold online.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com