HOUSTON – For the second time this month, a crook posing as a letter carrier has tricked a victim into opening their front door. Police say it’s a disturbing new trend in home invasions.
Just before 11 a.m. Thursday, residents at a southeast Houston home were woken up by a knock at the door. One of them looked out and saw what appeared to be a uniformed postal carrier with a mailbag.
"He thought he had package and opened the door to sign for it," said HPD Sgt. Juan Reynaldo. "By the time he opened the door, three other males come rushing in."
The victims said the robbers wore masks and were all armed. They zip-tied the 27-year-old man and his roommate and ransacked the house. They ignored the man’s 3-year-old son who was also inside the home on Fernwood in University Oaks.
Neighbors were shocked to hear about the brazen crime.
"Are you serious?" Veronica Trimmer asked.
"For someone to walk up to your door, be that bold and lie and fake like they’re a postal carrier? Who do you trust now?" asked Carol McCree. "You don’t let the postman in either?"
So what to look out for? A postal worker will almost always be alone, with very few exceptions.
"If it’s more than one more person, some kind of route inspection is going on," postal carrier Charles Burrell explained.
If you’re expecting a package, keep track of who is going to deliver it: UPS, USPS or FedEx.
Postal carriers usually work the same route. You should recognize them.
"I see ‘em, but I really see the uniform not the person," McCree said. "Now I’m gonna have to pay attention to what their face looks like."
The bottom line: If you’re not comfortable opening your door, don’t. A legitimate postal carrier will leave a notice and you can pick up your package from the post office.
After 11 News informed a real postal carrier of the home invasion on Fernwood, USPS inspectors also showed up to work the case. That means this could become a federal investigation.