Increase in postal worker robberies in Northern California

There has been an increase in people robbing postal workers in the Sacramento area. 

The robberies are similar to those in the Bay Area, where mail carriers have been targeted for their mailbox keys.

The gunman seen in one surveillance photo held up a mail carrier on Dec. 17 at the Rivercrest Apartment Complex. 

The suspect was armed with a semi-automatic handgun that the carrier believed was a Glock with a red and white striped camo slide.

Three days later, a gunman robbed another letter carrier in Rio Linda, about 10 miles away.

US Postal Inspector Mathew Norfelt said the thieves come back and use the master mailbox key to steal mail. 

 "The keys access several mailboxes so the mail thieves see that as a more efficient way to steal mail," Norfelt told Sacramento station KCRA. 

Postal inspectors are increasing patrols on the street while mail is being delivered.

Officials say the top priority is keeping postal workers safe while protecting the integrity of the mail.