USPS stops mail delivery to Santa Monica residents after assaults on carriers

Residents on the 1300 block of 14th Street in Santa Monica, Calif., will no longer find their mail in their mailboxes. Instead, they’ll have to pick it up at their local post office, the city postmaster said in a letter last week.

The move was necessary for the safety of the drivers, the postmaster said.

“Multiple carriers have been subjected to assaults and threats of assault from an individual who has not been located or apprehended,” said the flier, which was delivered on Thursday.

Postal workers reported three separate incidents, US Postal Service spokeswoman Natashi Garvins said in a statement to The Washington Post. The decision to suspend service is “unusual” but “necessary” to protect employees, she added.

Assaulting a postal carrier who’s on the job is a federal crime. The US Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement division of the Postal Service, is investigating the incidents in Santa Monica. The Postal Service declined to comment further because the inquiry is ongoing. it did not indicate how long the suspension would last.

The incidents are the latest in a string of assaults against Postal Service workers. In May, an Arizona man allegedly elbowed a postal worker in the face, giving her a black eye after she refused to hand him mail without first seeing his identification. A federal grand jury in January indicted two Rhode Island men for allegedly robbing and assaulting a postal carrier in September after the worker refused to hand over a package. Last month, federal officials announced a $50,000 reward for help in identifying two men who assaulted a mail carrier, causing a head injury, in Orlando on March 7.

Drug dealers kidnapped a mail carrier when their package of cocaine didn’t show, feds say. They face life in prison.

The Santa Monica Police Department found one crime report involving a postal worker on the 1300 block of 14th Street, Lt. Erika Aklufi told The Post. The assault occurred Jan. 19 and involved someone “who lived in the area” hitting a postal worker with a broomstick, police said.

“The victim sustained a minor injury to his arm and did not require medical attention,” Aklufi said. “The officers who took the report contacted the United States Postal Inspection Service on the day of the incident.”

The mail carrier later decided not to press charges, Aklufi said. It’s not immediately clear whether the Postal Inspection Service pursued the case.

The Santa Monica Police Department attempted to speak with the postmaster after the fliers were distributed, according to Aklufi, but was unable to reach anyone.

“Without speaking to the postmaster, it will be difficult to know the extent of this issue,” Aklufi said. “I have never heard of the Postal Service suspending service for all residents in a neighborhood.”

The move has frustrated residents, KTLA reported. Michael Fan, who lives on the street, complained that the decision “doesn’t make sense.”

“Why do I have to drive to the post office, pay for parking, for mail that should be delivered?” he said.

Courtney Smith told CBS News that she was disappointed by the announcement but added that she understands why the decision was made.

“I feel a lot of compassion for the mail carriers,” Smith said. “They shouldn’t have to deal with that.”

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