Memphis postal worker robbed at gunpoint in Cordova

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:32 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Snow, rain, heat, and the gloom of night might not stop them. But a rise in robberies of letter carriers is a major problem for the U.S. Postal Service right now. Armed robberies of postal workers are through the roof, quadrupling in the last four years, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

According to authorities, the latest robbery victim is a Memphis postal worker who was held up at gunpoint in broad daylight, a crime that has shaken the postal service and jarred the neighborhood where it happened.

In Kevin Phipps’ Cordova cul-de-sac near Houston Levee and Macon, he and his neighbors are stunned by what occurred Thursday. Investigators and witnesses say a letter carrier was robbed by a gunman around two in the afternoon right outside Phipps’ house.

“It’s a scary feeling! And it makes you feel not safe to be honest with you,” Phipps told Action News 5.

The U.S. Postal Service provided video of the suspect’s car, a silver sedan that sped away from the crime scene in reverse. USPS and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office are now investigating, telling Action News 5 the suspect is a Black male with a light complexion and light beard, 6′1″ to 6′2″ with a medium build, weighing between 180 and 190 pounds.

“I think they need to be punished to the full extent,” said Phipps.

Postal carrier robberies have surged nationwide according to data compiled by NBC News and the Associated Press, from 80 robberies in 2018, up to 261 in 2021, and 496 in 2022.

“The National Association of Letter Carriers is outraged and angered by the assaults, armed robberies and even murders that America’s letter carriers increasingly face as they deliver the mail,” union executive vice president Paul Barner told the Associated Press, “These attacks are completely unacceptable.”

The attack on this Memphis postal worker just adds to Kevin Phipps’ increasing concern about crime in the Bluff City.

“Usually, I do a lot of in and out in the city, going to a lot of stuff, but I have cut it down to a minimum because I just don’t trust, you know?” said Phipps, “You go to the grocery store and anything can happen. You go to church and they’re breaking into cars. It’s sad. It’s sad to see the city that I love has taken a turn. Something must be done and soon.”

A USPS spokesperson told Action News 5 the letter carrier is OK, but what a rough start to her first week on the job.

Robbing a postal employee or stealing mail is a federal crime, carrying significant jail time with no parole in the federal system.

In fact, a 21-year-old man from Memphis, Sidney Poitier Pilcher Jr. aka Slimey Sidd, was arrested for multiple letter carrier robberies. A judge sentenced him this week to nine years in prison with no parole.

If you know anything about Thursday’s postal worker robbery in the 10100 block of Whitcomb Lane in Cordova, you are asked to call the United States Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

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