The zip code is one of the most ethnically diverse in the entire US and covers approximately 49,000 people, but it is unclear how many are not receiving their mail deliveries.
Some residents told KIRO 7 that they would have to pick up their mail at the post office until at least June 3.
Surveillance video shows the suspects are in and out in about a minute, managing to grab mail from every box.
Mail delivery has since been stopped at residences across the zip code where mail can be accessed by using a master key, also known as an arrow key.
According to the outlet, the US Postal Inspector for the Seattle area is investigating this theft case.
USPS announced on Friday that robberies of mail carriers nationwide are up almost 50 percent this fiscal year compared to last year. “There has been an increase in letter carrier robberies nationwide where criminals are targeting letter carriers for their Arrow and Modified Arrow Lock (MAL) Keys.”
According to a USPS audit from 2020, “the number of arrow keys in circulation is unknown” and “local units did not adequately report lost, stolen, or broken keys,” and recommended changes including creating and maintaining a nationwide arrow key inventory.
USPS said it is changing approximately 49,000 arrow locks with electronic locks to crack down on the thefts but the timeline for when those changes are coming to Seattle has not been made public. The agency also announced it is adding 12,000 high-security blue collection boxes nationwide because it is more difficult for criminals to access the contents.
Mail theft carries a penalty of up to five years in prison while possession, concealment, or disposal of property carries a sentence of us to 10 years in prison.
Earlier this month it was revealed that a post office in Seattle has an increasing number of gas thefts from delivery trucks resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses for USPS as well as damaged equipment.
Seattle's violent crime rate reached a 15-year high in 2022, surpassing the record set in 2021, with violent crime increasing by 4 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, which was the previous all-time high in reported crimes.
Totals in 2022 surpassed the 2021 record with 49,577 violent and property crimes and the department reported that aggravated assault and motor vehicle thefts were "significantly" high in 2022 compared to the five-year weighted average.
Additionally, over 600 officers have left the department since the city council defunded the police in response to the riots in 2020, while in response to the city’s COVID vaccine mandate, some officers were terminated, while others transferred or retired.
UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, mail delivery in the affected parts of south Seattle resumed on May 18. In a statement to The Post Millennial, USPS said that improvements to the affected equipment have been made.
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