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Post offices losing master keys, audit finds; one stolen in Baton Rouge aids crime wave

March 16, 2022
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The recent nationwide rise in mail thefts comes two years after a federal audit criticized the U.S. Postal Service for failing to adequately protect mailbox keys.

In the 2020 report by the USPS Office of Inspector General, auditors found management controls over universal postal keys to be “ineffective,” noting that local units “did not adequately report lost, stolen or broken keys, or maintain key inventories.” Police say the theft of one in Baton Rouge last fall aided a crime wave.

Universal keys, also known as arrow keys, are used by mail carriers to access collection boxes, outdoor parcel lockers, cluster box units and apartment panels on more than 300,000 daily delivery and collection routes throughout the U.S.

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