NEW YORK -- Authorities want the public's help finding whoever carried out a brazen heist at a post office in the Bronx on Tuesday morning.
As CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported, the post office on Castle Hill Avenue was a crime scene for most of the day.
About an hour before the post office was set to open, a white minivan is seen on video parking out in front. The driver crawls into the back and waits. Just after 7 a.m., a postal worker and her husband open the gate. Police say the suspect, who was dressed in all black, followed her in.
Moments later, cops say she screamed for help. Her husband ran across the street only to be held up at gunpoint and dragged inside. There, sources tell CBS2 the suspect pistol-whipped the husband and ordered the employee to open the safe.
Family members rushed to the scene soon after with a mix of emotions.
"Going to a workplace every morning has to be a safe thing," one said. "Anxious, frustrated ... I was nervous to find out, to see if everybody was okay,"
"I ran over here when I first heard. She called me. I just ran over here to give my support," Ron Lopez added.
Surveillance video shows the suspect leaving the post office with a bag after spending more than 10 minutes inside. Police say in it was $112,000 in cash, and 10 boxes of blank money orders, along with a printer designed specifically for those money orders.
"The safety and security of postal employees is a top priority for the United States Postal Inspection Service. We're trying to locate and apprehend the individual responsible for this crime," U.S. Postal Inspector Kathryn Searles said.
Watch Kevin Rincon's report
The worker suffered minor physical injuries, but those who know her say there's a lot she's going through mentally.
"She seems very distraught, very scared. She seems very traumatized, very frightened. My heart is broken for her," a postal worker said.
Concerned over what might happen for speaking out, the postal worker didn't want to be identified, but said it's clear more needs to be done to keep fellow workers safe.
"I think if she had her manager here, this probably wouldn't have happened ... She has been working alone for a few weeks now," the postal worker said. "They're supposed to come in the morning and open the station with the employees, and they don't, they do not ever, ever ... You should have your supervisor, your manager there to assist you in getting into work safely."
"They should have security at all times in all these post offices, especially when they're opening them up," Lopez said.
When asked about safety protocols, a spokesperson for the Postal Service said simply that the safety of their employees is a top priority.
After pulling off the robbery, the suspect took off in the white minivan toward Bruckner Boulevard.
As CBS2's Ali Bauman reports, investigators believe this was likely an inside job because the suspect knew what time the post office opens, knew that there would be money in the vault and knew enough to take the money orders and specialized printer, as well.
"This is really a thrill seeker crime where this guy is just aching to go to prison," said Ralph Cilento, a retired NYPD detectives commander and a professor of police science at John Jay College. "Other than the cash, what he took is incredibly traceable. All of those money orders are incredibly traceable, and things leave an electronic footprint everywhere. If you cash or deposit one of those money orders, it's gonna come back and leave a trace."
Since the post office is a federal building, the crime is a federal offense, and the investigation will be handled by the FBI and U.S. Postal Police.
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