Troubling rise in mail carrier robberies in Oakland, Emeryville

After recent robberies and threats against mail carriers in the East Bay, the US Postal Service is asking for help to protect its workers. 

There has been an increase in mail carrier holdups in Oakland and Emeryville neighborhoods, police said. 

A postal carrier was punched last month and the keys to his mail truck were stolen in the area of 41st Street and Telegraph Avenue. The same postal worker was previously robbed working the same route. 

In January, postal worker Dilma Spruill was stabbed to death in West Oakland, three houses away from her own home. 

Rafael Nunez, the San Francisco Division Postal Inspector in Charge, said Monday that he would like the public to keep an eye out and report anything suspicious to ensure the safety of letter carriers. 

"No letter carrier should have to come to work wondering if this is the day that he or she will be robbed," Nunez said at a news conference. "We will continue to arrest criminals and bring them to justice. There will be no stone left unturned in our efforts to identify, find and arrest anyone, who would sink so low as to rob a carrier on their route."

Anyone who sees someone following a mail carrier or someone emptying a mailbox who’s not in a postal service uniform or driving a postal vehicle should call 911 first, then contact the postal inspectors at 877-876-2455 or, officials said.

The postal service is offering a $50,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest or conviction of someone involved in the robberies. 

Robbing a mail carrier is a federal crime. punishable by up to 25 years in prison.