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Lowell mail carrier hospitalized after assault as attacks on postal workers rise

Lowell mailman hospitalized after assault; attacks on postal workers rise
Lowell mailman hospitalized after assault; attacks on postal workers rise 02:10

LOWELL - A postal worker is recovering after being assaulted on the job in Lowell Tuesday afternoon.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said the letter carrier did not have life-threatening injuries. But it is just the latest case in the rising trend of attempted robberies of USPS employees.

Last month, federal prosecutors said there had been at least a dozen robberies on local letter carriers since July 2022.

Ken Janulewicz works for the National Association of Letter Carriers. The union represents most letter carriers in Massachusetts. Janulewicz was a letter carrier himself for roughly two decades.

"From the start when we punch in, it's go, go, go," Janulewicz told WBZ-TV. "They could be working 10 or even 12-hour days."

Danielle Schrage works at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The federal investigative agency has several open cases of area letter carriers who have been assaulted or robbed.

"I don't try to speculate on why bad guys do what they do," said Schrage. "But obviously our carriers are on the street and the postal service moves mail and goods, and bad guys are after it. Postal workers are beloved in every community. They are one member of the government that people see every single day. We are here to protect them."

In its latest data, the USPS said there were 253 robberies on letter carriers and centers nationwide in 2021. That number, they said, has only gone up in the time since.

Framingham Police Deputy Chief Sean Riley said these robbers are often after mail with checks and "arrow keys" that open those blue USPS boxes.

An "arrow key" that opens blue USPS mailboxes. CBS Boston

"There is a lot of personal information that comes through the mail," Riley said. "Mail those checks inside the post office. If not, get a secure bank check." 

Almost every local case since July has led to an arrest. Those suspects often, but not always, face federal charges. Now, postal workers are seeking harsher punishments for those who assault and rob them.

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