MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - A United States Postal Service mail carrier was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday while on the job in a suburban South Kensington neighborhood.
This is just one of several incidents FOX 5 has reported in recent months regarding letter carriers being attacked across the DMV.
The robbery happened at the corner of Saul Road and Hillridge Drive where witnesses tell us their long-time mail carrier Ellen had a gun shoved in her face.
Sadly, it’s a problem experts say is only getting worse.
"I saw her running down the street looking really disheveled and terrified," said Malinda Carson, a witness.
Moments after Carson’s mail was delivered, she saw Ellen running past her office window, screaming for help.
"I asked her if everything was ok, and she said ‘no, I’ve just been held up by gunpoint, call the police call the police,'" Carson recalled.
It happened Wednesday around 1:30 p.m.
"He had come down the street towards her and had said ‘hey I’m looking for a package. Did you deliver a package to an address?’
"She said ‘you don’t live at that address.’ And he pulled a gun out of his waistband and pointed at her and said ‘give me your keys, you don’t want to die,’" Carson said.
Another neighbor was able to catch photos of the mail carrier.
Witnesses say the suspect ran off with the keys to the USPS truck but not the ones that open those blue collection boxes.
"This is an everyday occurrence at this point," said Frank Albergo, National President of the Postal Police Officers Association.
"Carriers are having guns stuck in their faces, and they're being robbed of their arrow keys."
This incident is just the latest case of criminals targeting letter carriers.
A few ago, Albergo testified before Congress on the increased robberies and the lack of response from the UPS to provide increased safety to these federal employees.
"We specialize in mail theft, prevention and the protection of postal workers, you would think during a postal crime wave that the postal service would utilize its postal police force. They refused to do so," Albergo said. "They will not do it."
Montgomery County police and the United States Postal Inspection Service are actively investigating the incident that occurred in South Kensington.
Ellen was not hurt, but neighbors are unsure if she’ll return to her route.
"Postal workers deserve to feel safe when they are at work. But right now, it's not happening," Albergo said. "They don't feel safe, and the mail is being stolen at unprecedented levels. It has to be stopped."
Police describe the suspect as a black man in his late teens to early twenties. He is between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-4 with dreadlocks and a goatee. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie.