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February 27, 2021

Philly postal worker held at gunpoint, made to drive so man could steal packages, police say

The indictment alleges the man robbed two uniformed postal workers on two separate occasions in January and February

Crime Postal Service
Postal Workers robbed at gunpoint Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A Philadelphia man was charged with kidnapping and robbery after using a fake gun to steal packages from postal trucks in West Philadelphia two separate times in 2021.

A Philadelphia man was charged with robbery and kidnapping after police say he forced two United States Postal Service employees into their postal trucks, stole packages from inside and made them drive him. 

James Chandler, 54, had a court appearance Friday where he was ordered to be detained until trial. 

Police say Chandler allegedly robbed the postal workers on two separate occasions on Jan. 11 and Feb. 4 while delivering packages in West Philadelphia. He allegedly used a replica gun to force the postal workers into their trucks and ransacked the packages. 

On the Feb. 4 incident, Chandler forced the employee to drive him a couple blocks before fleeing on foot, police said.

“Mail carriers provide an essential service to nearly every citizen, oftentimes going above and beyond to execute their duties in challenging circumstances," said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. "If you choose to kidnap or rob a mail carrier, I guarantee you will feel the full force of the federal government come down on you in the form of intense investigation and aggressive prosecution.”

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Philadelphia Police Department worked together on the investigation. 

Chandler could face a maximum possible sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.

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