Police search for armed robbers who targeted UPS driver

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police released surveillance pictures of two suspected armed robbers who targeted a package delivery driver.

This time of year, package theft is extremely common. But the pair of thieves didn't wait for the packages to be dropped in front of a home. They went straight to the source: the delivery truck.

The theft happened Wednesday night in the Chatham neighborhood.

The UPS driver was shaken up but unhurt. Though witnesses said he had a gun pointed at his head. The offenders took personal items and money from the UPS driver. Then they removed several undelivered packages from the truck before fleeing on foot.

Earlier that day, a similar heist happened just two miles away. A FedEx truck was stolen as the driver delivered packages. The vehicle was later found crumpled and abandoned.

"We are very conscious of those incidents, and we also make sure our personnel are conscious of that," Inspector-in-charge E.C. Woodson, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is charged with protecting postal workers and the mail and they said no additional security measures have been put in place in light of Wednesday's robberies. But postal carriers are especially vigilant during the holiday.

Inspection service agents who generally investigate mail fraud and other offenses are often deployed to high crime neighborhoods.

"We're constantly doing investigations, so as they're doing their investigations, they also make sure if they traverse through an area or through a neighborhood, they take the time to check on our carriers," Woodson said.

While package theft is a year-round crime, the avalanche of holiday deliveries brings out more thieves.

An estimated 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes.

Among them is Linda Anne Donahoe who now ships items to her local UPS store.
"Sometimes I pick it up. And I also have it sent to my sister-in-law who has a secure mail system," Donahoe said.

These so-called "porch pirates" and "porch poachers" have swiped packages from Vincent Robertson's apartment building so he now picks up at his local UPS store.

"It makes you upset. You just spent your money. You just spent your time, and someone just stole your package. Now you've got to go through the process of getting it replaced," Robertson said.

Now, some package thieves are skipping the porch altogether and going right to the source.

"In light of the Christmas season, we have a greater emphasis on, first of all, personnel safety," Woodson said.

The UPS driver who was robbed on Wednesday was not harmed. In a statement, a UPS spokesperson said the company is grateful he's okay and said safety and security is a top priority.
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