9 Investigates: ‘Arrow Key’ thefts impact Central Florida communities well beyond where they occur

ORLANDO, Fla. — There’s a warning about your personal information at risk, after three mail carriers were robbed in as many weeks in three different Central Florida communities.


The first was in Kissimmee, then Orlando a few days later, and this week, Winter Park. 9 Investigates’ Karla Ray has been reporting on these attacks for nearly two years and learned this doesn’t just impact those three cities.

One of the carriers attacked in this latest string said the keys stolen off of her open boxes all the way to Polk County, meaning anyone living near Winter Park, through Orlando and all the way through Osceola and Polk Counties should be paying very close attention to their mail over the next few weeks and months.

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Investigators say in the latest robbery, two men wearing masks and carrying guns robbed a postal worker in broad daylight along Minnesota Avenue in Winter Park, taking off with her universal arrow key.

“The mail carrier wasn’t harmed, but when you have a gun shoved in your face, it’s traumatic,” United States Postal Inspector Rick Johnsten said.

9 Investigates told you that USPS has been aware of these attacks since before the pandemic, and is only now hardening efforts being made to better secure blue mailboxes around the country; but the people caught in the middle of these crimes are still exposed.

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“It shouldn’t be where we fear coming into work,” the mail carrier who was robbed in Kissimmee said. We met with the woman along her route a few weeks back. She was attacked in broad daylight, too.

She wants more done to warn other carriers, and more notice to the general public about how just one stolen key can put countless of pieces of mail at risk.

“I don’t think people realize these keys open up so many boxes,” the robbery victim said. “It’s your information- a lot of your information- out in the hands of someone you don’t want.”

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USPIS investigators are working to solve both cases, and they told us that training is being provided to mail carriers to know what to do if they’re robbed.

These robberies are a gateway crime to the bigger issue of mail theft, which leads to financial crimes and fraud. Investigators say that’s why some cases take so long to solve, because the robbers on the street are just a small part of a larger organization.

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Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.