History Spotlight

  • September 2023

    September 23, 2023

    Frisco Slim Post Office Burglar
    Around 2:30 AM, an explosion rocked the Rockaway Post Office in New Jersey, and two robbers escapted into the night with a bag or cash. Postal Inspectors began their hunt for the culprits.

    September 16, 2023

    Robbery in the Sky
    The U.S. Post Office Department introduced air mail as the fastest, safest, and most secure form of mail delivery in 1918. However, it wasn’t long before thieves began targeting mail transported by planes.

    September 9, 2023

    September 11th: The Church Street Station Post Office
    On September 11, 2001, the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history, and Postal Inspectors were on the front lines.

    September 2, 2023

    USPIS During Disaster
    During times of crisis, both natural and man-made, the United States Postal Inspection Service steps in to aid relief efforts by securing postal facilities and helping to restore vital lines of communication.

  • August 2023

    August 26. 2023

    John D. Nicholas – Rogue Railway Clerk
    After valuable Registered Mail kept going missing on a Southern Pacific Railroad train, Postal Inspectors began their investigation of railway clerk John D. Nicholas.

    August 19. 2023

    U.S. Postal Inspection Service Training History
    When it comes to training, the Postal Inspection Service has been producing highly skilled inspectors & officers for over 200 years. New recruits have to undergo weeks of rigorous training before they can earn the badge.

    August 12. 2023

    The Wedding Gift Bomb
    Newlyweds stop by the post office for a mysterious wedding gift. This gift turns out to be a bomb that explodes in the car killing Mr. Thomas. Who would break up this fledging romance? Postal Inspectors search the wreckage for clues.

    August 5, 2023

    Nathaniel Wheeler – The $1 Million Mail Order Romeo
    Thousands of women were in love with Nathaniel Wheeler, but he was no Romeo. This smooth-talking charmer used his love letters to scam women around the world of more than $1 Million before Postal Inspectors broke his heart.

  • July 2023

    July 29, 2023

    Leonard Weisman – Confidence Man
    Leonard Weisman swindled million from wealthy financial executives. he cleverly avoided direct contact with mail by having other send letters for him and never using the same alias twice. He still couldn’t escape the Postal inspectors.

    July 22, 2023

    The Order of Iris
    Want to test you luck? The Order of Iris was known in the early 1900s for selling pieces of “Iris Stone”, which they claimed held magical powers and even brought good fortune. But their luck ran out when Inspectors began their investigation.

    July 15, 2023

    The Klick Couple Swindle
    In 1933, an elderly couple was scammed out of their life savings of over $70,000 by a group of con-artists. Postal Inspectors were tasked with finding the swindlers and reclaiming their life savings.

    July 8, 2023

    Ella McClendon – The Mystery Woman
    A wealthy Virginia farmer dies by posioning with no heirs. Two weeks later authorities receive a will leaving his fortune to a mystery woman Ella McClendon. Was there foul play?

    July 1, 2023

    The Union Pacific Mail Train Robbery Part 3
    After the robbery of the Union Pacific Mail Train, eight bandits escaped with $245,000 and went their separate ways. But after two months of being pursued by Inspectors, the “perfect” heist unraveled when they began turning on each other.

  • June 2023

    June 24, 2023

    The Union Pacific Mail Train Robbery Part 2
    On August 14, 1926, eight bandits stole $245,000 from the Union Pacific Mail Train and got away without a trace. They thought they had pulled off the perfect heist, until Postal Inspectors began investigating the case.

    June 17, 2023

    The Union Pacific Mail Train Robbery Part 1
    Two old friends make a bet they can pull of the perfect heist. After a year of planning & recruiting they decided to rob the Union Pacific Mail Train.

    June 10, 2023

    Robbery at Council Bluffs
    In November 1920, $3.5 Million was stolen off a mail train near Council Bluffs, Iowa. During the investigation, Postal Inspectors learned that two teens helped pull off the massive heist.

    June 3, 2023

    A.B. Potter
    In March 1897, Postal Inspectors had to solve a curious case. A fraudster, known as “A.B. Potter,” had been impersonating postal employees to commit crime for years until he was captured.

  • May 2023

    May 27, 2023

    Harry D. Holmes – The Last Interview of Lee Harvey Oswald
    In Nov. 1963, federal agencies combined resources immediately following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Postal Inspector Harry Holmes was tasked with finding how Lee Harvey Oswald had purchased his weapon through the mail.

    May 20, 2023

    The U.S. Postal Inspection Service in WWII
    During World War II, more than 225 Postal Inspectors were drafted or enlisted to serve in the Armed Forces. But that didn’t stop the Inspection Service from carrying out its’ important mission.

    May 13, 2023

    APO and Military Mail History
    Postal Inspectors helped create the Army Post Office system during WWI to ensure soldiers received their mail. While minor adjustments are made for the location of conflict, the APO system is still used to deliver military mail today.

    May 6, 2023

    William “Bill” Kenyon
    William Kenyon had a long history with the Postal Service. Starting as a young man cleaning mail bags, Kenyon would proceed to become a highly respected Postal Inspector and organizer of the Army Postal Offices during WWI.

  • April 2023

    April 29, 2023

    David B. Parker
    When mail service became unreliable during the Civil War, Lieutenant D.B. Parker ensured his soldiers’ vital communications were delivered. Parker would go on to become a Postal Inspector and a pioneer in the Bell Telephone Company.

    April 22, 2023

    Allan Pinkerton
    Allan Pinkerton created on of the most successful security and detective agencies in the world, but before he did this, he was a Postal Inspector.

    April 8, 2023

    Rondout Train Robbery
    The DeAutremont brothers robbed a mail train in 1923 known as the “Last Great Train Robbery.” However, the largest and most lucrative train robbery in the U.S. actually took place the following year in Rondout, Illinois.

    April 1, 2023

    Weird Postal Inspection History
    Postal Inspectors have been investigating mail crimes for a long time. From mail-eating cows to hypnotizing thieves, they have seen all sorts of strange cases over the years.

  • March 2023

    March 25, 2023

    Stagecoach Robber Implicated by His Own Diary
    The 1870s and 1880s were plagued by stagecoach, mail, and bank robberies. In a vast and growing country, criminals were often able to escape. ham White, however, had documented proof of his crimes when captured in 1877.

    March 18. 2023

    Today’s Women of the Inspection Service
    Women have long played support roles with the Postal Inspection Service, but it wasn’t until 1971 that the first female was appointed a Postal Inspector. Coincidently, that year was when the Security Force was established – and included women in the first class. Today, women from all backgrounds can be found in every position at the United States Postal Inspection Service.

    March 11, 2023

    Kate “Ma” Barker
    After being abandoned by her husband of 35 years, Kate “Ma” Barker encouraged her sons’ criminal lifestyle and became the mastermind of the infamous Barker-Karpis gang of Chicago.

    March 3, 2023

    Women in the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
    While the Postal Inspection Service has long been inclusive, it wasn’t until 1971 that women were appointed to the position of Postal Inspector. When the first women joined, they were among the first employed as federal agents in any U.S. agency.

  • February 2023

    February 25, 2023

    The Green Book
    Victor H. Green, a letter carrier & WWI veteran, created a travel guide to help African Americans travel safely during the Jim Crow era. The “Green Book” was updated regularly from 1936 to 1967 & helped thousands during its publication.

    February 18, 2023

    African Americans in the Inspection Service
    Postal Inspectors have a proud history of hiring talented individuals of all backgrounds. This Black History Month, we turn our attention to some of the influential African American figures in our agency’s history

    February 11, 2023

    The Ages of Fraud Part 2
    Like putting old wine in a new bottle, the same scams have reappeared in new forms as technology has progressed. But Postal Inspectors are keen to adapt to scammers’ changing methods.

    February 4 , 2023

    The Ages of Fraud Part 1
    The Mail Fraud Statute of 1872 gave Postal Inspectors the ability to prosecute scammers. This led to several time periods that saw different kinds of fraud & the downfall of criminals, such as Charles Ponzi & Joseph “Yellow Kid” Weil.

  • January 2023

    January 28, 2023

    History of Mail Fraud Statute
    Since the birth of the Postal Service, scammers have tried to abuse the mail system in order to make a quick buck. Congress passed the Mail Fraud Statute in 1872, making it illegal to use the mail in any attempt to defraud or scam someone.

    January 21, 2023

    “Black Hand Gang”
    For more than 20 years, the Black Hand Gang terrorized citizens across the country with threatening letters of violence, murder, and extortion. But their threats didn’t intimidate the Postal Inspectors.

    January 15, 2023

    “Boy Wonder” of Forgery
    After a decade of forgery & fraud, Jerome Poster intentionally blinded himself in order to stop. But even blindness couldn’t keep him from a life of crime.

    January 7, 2023

    First Postal Surveyors
    Before modern roads, Postal Surveyors had to find the safest & most efficient routes to transport the mail. These Surveyors laid the foundation for today’s Postal Service and the Inspection Service.