Receive alerts from your local agencies
...or text your ZIP CODE to 888777 for mobile alerts

Full Notification

Palo Alto Police Department
Friday May 17th, 2024 :: 03:02 p.m. PDT


News Release: Police Investigate Strong-Arm Robbery of Mail Carrier

Police are investigating a strong-arm robbery of a United States Postal Service mail carrier that occurred yesterday in the Midtown neighborhood.  The two suspects are unknown and at large.
On Thursday, May 16, 2024, at about 11:57 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a Postal Service supervisor stating that one of their mail carriers had been robbed of his postal keys about ten minutes earlier in the parking lot of the Southwood Apartments at 2850 Middlefield Road.
The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his sixties, had been delivering mail when two men approached him and demanded his postal keys.  The victim complied and turned over the keys.  The men then demanded his wallet and cell phone, and when the victim refused, a fistfight ensued between all three.  The suspects knocked the victim to the ground, and then fled on foot towards the parking garage.  A short time later, the victim saw a black vehicle drive out of the garage at a high rate of speed to head southbound on Middlefield Road.  The victim called his supervisor to report the incident.
The victim described the suspects as Hispanic males in their twenties, both about 5 feet 8 inches tall with average builds and no facial hair.  The victim said they were both wearing black hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up.  He said that when the suspects approached him, both had one hand reaching into their waistbands.  He never saw either of them with a weapon.  The victim described the vehicle he saw driving away as an older model Nissan Altima four-door sedan, with paint that looked old.
The victim sustained minor injuries to his face, rib cage, and knee.  He declined medical attention at the scene.
Detectives are working with investigators from the United States Postal Inspection Service to conduct follow-up investigation.  Palo Alto detectives are also investigating to see if these suspects may also be responsible for a strong-arm robbery of a mail carrier that occurred in Palo Alto in December 2023.  For details on that incident, see the news release we distributed at the time. That case is unsolved and remains open.  Detectives do not know if there is any connection between yesterday’s case and the arrests made of two individuals over the weekend for mail carrier robberies.
Robberies of mail carriers for postal keys, which are used to access locked Postal Service mailboxes, are becoming increasingly more common.  Thieves then use the keys to assist them in committing mail theft, which in turn facilitates identify theft, fraud, and other crimes. Please report any financial crimes connected to the U.S. Mail to postal inspectors, even if the loss was minimal or covered by another institution.
Unauthorized possession of a postal key is a federal crime, a conviction of which can land someone in prison for up to ten years.  The United States Postal Inspection Service encourages anyone who knows the location of any stolen postal keys or who has information about any robberies of mail carriers to contact their 24-hour hotline at (877) 876-2455.  They offer a reward of up to $150,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspects.
In light of these robberies, police are asking that the public keep a watchful eye out, remain alert for suspicious behavior around mail carriers, Postal Service vehicles, and common mailboxes, and promptly report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.  This could include vehicles and/or individuals appearing to follow mail carriers.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

Palo Alto Police Department
275 Forest Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-329-2406

Navigate & Discover