Wedgwood master mail key stolen, theft spreads to another Seattle neighborhood

Aug 18, 2023, 8:04 AM | Updated: 8:39 am

mail keys...

A mailbox in Marysville (Photo from Sam Campbell)

(Photo from Sam Campbell)

Another USPS master key was stolen from a mail carrier at gunpoint in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood Saturday, according to US postal inspectors.

Two people allegedly held up the postal worker in the mid-afternoon, demanding several of their items, including a master key. Master keys can open various numbers of mailboxes and drop boxes along routes, and inspectors could not immediately confirm to KIRO Newsradio how many Wedgwood residents’ mailboxes are now at risk.

More from Sam Campbell: Thousands of Marysville mailboxes jeopardized due to stolen postal service master key

Master keys have also been stolen before, but little information was previously given from the postal services inspection service about how it happened. Postal inspectors haven’t disclosed how thieves in Marysville allegedly got ahold of a master key there.

Marysville police said that the thieves are using them to target collection boxes and group mailboxes that serve multiple homes.

It remains unknown how many homes have been impacted there – or in South Seattle, where federal officials are charging a man with using a stolen master key last May to break into multiple apartment complexes and other boxes.

In Marysville, residents told KIRO Newsradio they received little correspondence from the post office about what happened, but one had noticed one of the “key grabbers” the investigators were reportedly using to capture the stolen master keys, which the city said have been replicated with a 3D printer.

MPD has warned residents in the 98270 and 98271 zip codes their mail could be at risk. It’s not clear which zip codes in Northeast Seattle are now affected.

Mail theft is also hitting Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood, just one block from the KIRO Newsradio studios.

Residents on Franklin Avenue say their townhomes’ mail has been compromised after thieves allegedly pulled up in a grey minivan and forced open their group box.

“It seems like an epidemic,” Mark McCarthy, an Eastlake resident, said. “Somebody is very smart about how they’re doing illegal business. I mean, they did it in the middle of the afternoon, around three or four o’clock.”

They report it happened on August 5, but it’s unclear if a police report was filed and a postal inspector for the Seattle area wasn’t immediately aware of details. McCarty said that since thieves broke into his development’s group box, he hasn’t heard anything from the post office, but he is talking with his carrier.

Nearly two weeks later, the mailbox is still broken, unable to securely store parcels for dozens of residents.

“My understanding is, from talking to [the mail carrier], is that it is going to be a while until this gets fixed because there is only one person that does these repairs to the boxes,” McCarthy said.

KIRO Newsradio asked postal inspectors about the status of their mail and is awaiting details.

Other impacted residents across the region have expressed similar concerns about the ongoing status of their mail. While Columbia City community members were told in May delivery was temporarily suspended to the 98118 zip code while that master key was lost, mail-in Marysville has continued to be delivered but with reportedly few solutions communicated from the post office.

US Postal Inspector John Wiegand told KIRO Newsradio his office is actively investigating these mail thefts, which he said is on the rise, but when asked about what steps the inspection service is taking, he could not comment.

At the time of publication, no arrests have been reported in the Wedgwood, Marysville, or Eastlake incidents.

Local News

Photo: A photo of Lumen Field during the preseason game against the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seaha...

Julia Dallas

New study ranks Lumen Field as one of most dangerous stadiums in US

A new study by Sportsbook Review found that the zip code surrounding Lumen Field is the second highest in local crime compared to other stadium zip codes in the US.

4 hours ago

Phoenix heat...

Associated Press

Arizona’s sweltering summer could set new record for most heat-associated deaths in big metro

PHOENIX (AP) — America’s hottest metro area is on track to set an annual record for heat-associated deaths after a sweltering summer, particularly in Phoenix. Public health officials in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and Arizona’s most populous county, said Friday that 289 heat-associated deaths were confirmed as of Sept. 16, with another 262 deaths […]

12 hours ago

A Seattle Police Department vehicle...

Steve Coogan

Seattle officer put on administrative leave after racist comments surface

SPD Chief Adrian Diaz said in a statement Friday he has taken steps to place an officer on administrative leave after racist and sexist comments surfaced.

13 hours ago


Heather Bosch

Pot shops remain high target for smash-and-grabs, armed robbery

Pot shops are targets of smash-and-grabs because they're, typically, cash reliant as it's illegal under federal law to buy those products with credit cards.

1 day ago

plane crash Arlington Airport...

Frank Sumrall

Pilot killed in plane crash near Arlington Municipal Airport

At least one person was killed in a small plane crash Friday near the Arlington Municipal Airport, according to authorities.

1 day ago

washington tipping...

Frank Sumrall

Study: Washington is second-lowest tipping state in nation

Following California and Washington, Nevada and Florida, at 18.2% and 18.3%, respectively, had the third and fourth-lowest average tipping rate.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Wedgwood master mail key stolen, theft spreads to another Seattle neighborhood