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$150,000 reward offered after letter carrier robbed by 3 men on Chicago's West Side

$150,000 reward after postal carrier is robbed in Chicago
$150,000 reward after postal carrier is robbed in Chicago 02:50

CHICAGO (CBS) — The United States Postal Inspection Service was asking the public Friday to take a closer look at video showing three people running away after holding up a postal carrier on the city's West Side.

CBS 2 has reported numerous times before on postal carriers getting attacked. But there are now substantial rewards being offered for information leading to an arrest—up to $150,000 in the latest case—and a tougher proposed law to crack down on the criminals.

The latest robbery is also just one example of why postal workers are saying enough is enough.

The robbers approached the carrier in the 500 block of North Pine Avenue around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and demanded postal service property and mail. They were last seen leaving the area and heading north.

Austin letter carrier robbed - suspects
US Postal Inspection Service

"The carrier is doing OK," said Elise Foster, President of Branch 11 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, "a little shaken up."

Foster spoke to CBS 2 on Friday from Moline, Illinois, where she traveled to be a part of a state safety rally calling for more protections for letter carriers—specifically the National Protect Our Letter Carriers Act.

The bipartisan legislation addresses the rise of violent crime against letter carriers.

"While we out there delivering mail, we want to be protected—and we should be protected," Foster said, "and we shouldn't have to keep talking about this issue, you know, more than we're talking about it now. We should have something in place."

The act, in part, would address what the union calls outdated collection boxes and arrow keys, which are often stolen—as CBS 2 has reported—making workers a target. It would also change sentencing guidelines to make punishments harsher for those who assault or rob a letter carrier, and ensure the U.S. Department of Justice prosecutes crimes against mail carriers by designating an assistant in every U.S. Attorney's office for such prosecutions.

Foster said this recent robbery specifically is the second issue on the mail route. While the union wants to see the three robbers caught and held accountable, Foster said it's just a drop in the bucket when it comes to what mail carriers are up against daily.

"We should not have to be working in fear. The letter carriers are in fear," Foster said. "I am a letter carrier. If I was on the street, and I would be in fear—because I don't know from day to day what's going to happen."

CBS 2 also talked to postal workers off camera today who said don't feel safe, but also don't feel like they have a choice. They said they have to keep coming to work, and hope more is done to address their concerns soon.

In the Austin neighborhood robbery, the robbers were described as three Black men between 18 and 20 years of age, standing between 5 feet 8 and 6 feet tall. All the suspects wore black pants and black hoodies, one of which had a large gold emblem on the back.

Authorities advise residents that if they see suspects, they should not attempt to apprehend them as they are considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 and say, "Law enforcement." All information submitted will be kept strictly confidential. 

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