Mail delivery was halted last week to an entire zip code in south Seattle due to theft from the United States Postal Service. A USPS spokesperson confirmed that hundreds were affected.
Kim Frum explained that “mail delivery to less than 900 residents in parts of south Seattle was affected last week because of equipment security concerns.” She added that security enhancements were undertaken and all mail was subsequently delivered.
According to local media, the delivery stoppage was initiated when thieves stole a master key that postal workers used to open “cluster mailboxes” throughout the city. These are found primarily in apartment buildings.
Mail delivery was resumed on Tuesday.
Word came to residents from various sources. Some found out that their mail service was suspended through their apartment complexes, while others learned through social media or by talking to neighbors.
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In some instances, the news traveled slowly. Resident Veronica Cannon told reporters she wondered why the box was constantly empty. “So, we were worried too that somebody was taking our mail but apparently, this is what’s happening.”
Cannon added that she’d attempted to get her mail a few days earlier at the distribution point but gave up when she realized that people ahead of her in line had been waiting for quite a while.
Mail customers in the 98118 zip code suddenly lost service due to the theft. They were sent to a central location to retrieve their letters and packages.
One notification obtained by local media from a mailbox container told the recipient that “due to the rise in mail theft and vandalism we will be holding all mail for your address. We do not have an exact date of when all master locks will be replaced.”
Resident Nancy Truittpierce told a reporter that she did not get a definite answer when she asked one of the workers at the central location when her service would resume.
The disgruntled customer added that “they’re telling us to rent a post office box, that’s not an answer, that’s a ridiculous answer, there are people who aren’t able to do that.”
The Postal Service declared that robberies of carriers have spiked 50% from just a year ago, according to KIRO 7. Fortune reported that robberies of postal workers over the past decade have quadrupled.