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Deputies seek man who tried to rob postal worker in NW Newton County
Newton County Sheriff's Office

COVINGTON, Ga. — A postal worker in northwest Newton escaped possibly being shot recently after a man pulled a gun on him in broad daylight to rob him of a master key used to service post office boxes.

The suspect ran from the scene after the postal worker told him he did not have such a key, a report stated.

Deputies reported the Newton County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the attempted robbery Saturday, Oct. 1, at about 2:35 p.m. in front of a residence on Barshay Drive in The Reserves at Lakewood Estates subdivision.

The 36-year-old postal worker told deputies he got out of his vehicle to drop off a package at a residence and walked back toward his vehicle. A man holding a handgun approached him, raised the gun upwards towards the victim, cocked it and ordered him to hand over a "blue box key," a report stated.

"The complainant stated he advised the male that he did not have a ‘blue box key’ and the male ran away from him on foot and into the woods," a report stated.

A BOLO was put out for the suspect, who was described only as a Black man who had run into woods near Barshay Drive carrying a handgun, the report stated.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) uses a universal key, known as an arrow key, to access collection boxes, outdoor parcel lockers, cluster box units and apartment panels, according to information from the USPS Inspector General's Office.

"Supervisors assign these keys — generally one per route — to letter carriers for use on over 300,000 delivery and collection routes each day,” the USPS posted on its website. 

“Carriers and collectors must always keep arrow keys secured and attached to their belts or clothing by a chain while on duty and return them at the end of each day."

WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., reported such stolen box keys are used by criminals to unlock blue outdoor postal boxes — often found outside post offices, retail centers and office parks — to search for letters and packages containing cash or other valuables.

The USPS issued a $50,000 reward poster earlier this year for suspects who robbed letter carriers of special keys that open blue collection boxes in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery and Prince George counties in Maryland, the TV station reported.