ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Crooks in the metro are taking on a dangerous new trend: pulling guns on postal workers before robbing them. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says it’s happened at least three times in the past month.

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As Albuquerque continues to tackle crime, one area now has the feds getting involved. “Thieves are always on the prowl trying to steal mail all year round,” said Kelly McNulty, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

In the last month, at least three postal workers were robbed at gunpoint. The USPIS says two men and a woman robbed a letter carrier on Jan. 11 near Unser and Western Trail before taking off in a stolen car. Just one week later, two men robbed a postal worker near Central and Louisiana, getting away in a black Dodge Charger. But why are these happening so frequently now?

“W2s are obviously being mailed out at this time but the criminals are always after credit cards, any personal identifiable information that an individual could gather out of the mail,” said McNulty. “They could use that to open up new credit cards in their name and to steal money and steal items that are also in the mail.”

Just this past weekend, a man robbed a mail carrier at the Mountain View Vista Apartments near Tramway and Indian School, making off with keys for the community mailboxes. That suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his early 20s, just over five feet tall with a light build and wearing all black. As they work to identify arrest him, the Postal Inspection Service is also working to secure future mail for those residents.

“We never disclose the keys and what they actually go to, however, we already know that the key that was stolen was for those immediate boxes,” said McNulty. “The keys, we submit for them to be replaced as quickly as possible, although there are quite a number of boxes that typically would have to be replaced.”

The USPIS tells us they’re following all leads that come it, but hope someone will know who these thieves are and turn them in. In the meantime, they’re asking people to be proactive when it comes to their mail.

“We encourage our customers to always get their mail during daylight hours,” said McNulty. “Most mail theft occurs during the evening time when it’s dark and no one is around.”

If caught, these suspects face federal charges. Information leading to arrests could bring in a reward of up to $50,000. Those with information are encouraged to contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455, choosing the “law enforcement” option, or by filing a report online.