A brazen broad daylight heist earlier this week at a United States Post Office in Orange County was captured on camera when thieves nearly ran down a postal worker as they tried to get away with a haul of mail.
Cellphone footage of the incident posted to Instagram shows thieves in a dark-colored four-door sedan trying to drive out of the post office parking lot in Fullerton as a female postal worker was standing in their way.
The driver continued driving, backing the postal worker up, eventually pushing her into the street, where she was thrown down as they turned out of the parking lot and drove off.
“The suspects were at the rear dock to the post office and took one of the bins off that dock and attempted to leave,” Fullerton Police Department Sgt. Ryan O’Neil told KTLA’s John Fenoglio.
Sgt. O’Neil said that the suspects, three males, snatched the crate filled with hundreds of pieces of mail just before 4 p.m. on Jan. 23.
A bystander captured the video, which has since gone viral on social media, while others called 911.
“Upon responding to the area, one of our officers spotted a vehicle matching the description and conducted a traffic stop in the area of Raymond and Orangethorpe,” Sgt. O’Neil said.
During the traffic stop, police found the bin full of mail inside the vehicle and arrested three men on suspicion of robbery, mail theft and assault with a deadly weapon.
“We’re working with our partners at the postal service, their investigators there,” O’Neil said. “We are working on the local charges, and they will be working on the possible federal charges.”
Police said it’s unclear if the crooks had been casing the post office or if the incident was simply a crime of opportunity.
Regardless, mail theft is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Investigators with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service have taken up the case.
“I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my career as far as stealing mail,” O’Neil said. “This is my first time seeing suspects steal a crate of mail from the post office.”
Fortunately, the postal worker who was knocked to the ground and nearly run over suffered only minor injuries.