Thieves targeting mail carriers in Manhattan

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Instead of thieves fishing letters out of mailboxes, they are going right to the source - targeting mail carriers in Manhattan.

"Some of them, the come in, and before you blink an eye, they dip someplace else, and you miss them," says USPS worker Monique McCall.

The bandits have hit at least 19 times since the summer - are lightning fast, and sometimes operate in teams.

One thief that was caught on camera on E. 36th Street was even wearing a fake uniform when he struck on March 15th. Police say the suspects are all after the same thing - carrier's carts filled with mail.

Back in January, McCall's colleague was bamboozled on E 16th Street.

"He just told me to be careful, because they did steal his cart. While I'm doing my deliveries, I watch my whole area - I don't allow people to stay and hang around my truck, there's no need for you to be around my truck. 'I have nothing here for you, so remove yourself' is what I say," added McCall.

The Postal Service tells Eyewitness News that it is extremely confident it will find the suspects. In one case on E. 78th Street, a witness said he noticed the regular postman was not pushing his cart. He thought it was a joke, but by the time he realized it wasn't, the suspects had run off and possibly made off with a lot of money.

"This is ridiculous, because people's checks are being stolen. Businesses - their checks are being stolen, and we are supposed to be a secure business," says McCall.

At some buildings carts aren't allowed in the lobby, so workers have to leave them outside.

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