Mail on hold

Schenectady letter carrier’s bag hit by BB

Mail on hold to section of Van Vranken Avenue

Monday, November 25, 2013
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Mail on hold

The Schenectady Post Office is pictured on Monday evening.
Photographer: Marc Schultz
The Schenectady Post Office is pictured on Monday evening.

— A U.S. Postal Service letter carrier was the apparent target of someone with a BB gun last week on Van Vranken Avenue. Now mail service to that area has been suspended, postal officials said.

The mail carrier was uninjured, authorities said, as the BB hit the carrier’s mailbag.

But the incident worried the Postal Service enough to suspend delivery to about 40 multiple-dwelling units in the vicinity of the 1600 block of Van Vranken.

“We take very seriously any compromise to the safety and security of our carriers and the mail that has been entrusted to them,” Postal Service spokeswoman Maureen Marion said in an email.

Exactly how long service to that area will be suspended was unclear. Marion said it would be suspended “pending completion of the investigation.”

Those whose delivery has been suspended can pick up their mail at the main Schenectady Post Office at 29 Jay St., Marion said.

The incident happened about 1 p.m. Thursday as the carrier delivered mail in that area of Van Vranken Avenue, police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Dearing said Monday.

The carrier couldn’t tell where the BB came from, but it hit his bag, Dearing said.

Police called the projectile a BB, although Marion referred to it as a pellet. The possession of such a gun is prohibited by city ordinance, Dearing said.

The case is not the first time the Postal Service has suspended delivery to an area of the city after an attack on a carrier.

In August 2011, the Postal Service stopped delivery to Bluff Avenue in Mont Pleasant after a carrier was knocked down by two pit bull dogs and bitten.

The Postal Inspection Service is involved in the current investigation, Marion said. The precise charges the suspect could face have yet to be determined, Marion said, but any charges could go to federal court, as the Postal Service is a federal entity.

The disruption of mail service is causing a hardship to some.

Resident Bonnie Chambers, who lives in the affected area, said her family and others depend on the mail.

“There’s all of us. We all get bills in the mail. How are we going to pay our bills?” she said.

She said she can’t just go to the post office because she doesn’t have a car.

“Because of one person, it’s messed up this whole block,” Chambers said.

At Avon Meat Land, also in the suspended zone, butcher Rick Caruso said they were notified of the suspension by a phone call.

Caruso will have pick up the mail at the post office.

“It’s kind of a hassle,” Caruso said. “You’ve got to leave. It’s busy during the holidays.”

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November 26, 2013
1:38 p.m.
FlyPTi says...

This is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. You just can not send innocent unarmed people into an area where fools have guns, even a BB gun. An investigation needs to be conducted. Hamilton Hill hasn't had the blue U. S. Postal Boxes for years. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who even knows why they were removed in the first place. All I know is if I need to mail a letter or package, I have to drive to the post office or I could go to Mont Pleasant, Central State Street, or downtown. I guess I could go any where else in the city of Schenectady and mail a letter except the neighborhood that I live in.
Darlene Lee

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