WEST HAVEN -- Police are investigating an armed robbery at a Connecticut post office.
West Haven police Sgt. David Tammaro says three armed men dressed in black entered the post office at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, vaulted the counter and stole cash boxes before fleeing on foot. It was unclear how much money was stolen.
One of the men appeared to be armed with a rifle.
The post office was closed while police processed the scene, but mail was still being delivered.
Patrons who arrived at the post office for business later in the day were shocked to hear news from the morning.
"Oh, wow," said Edwin Caulley of West Haven. "It’s funny because I started to come this morning, you know, first thing this morning so I could beat the crowd and wow, I’m glad I didn’t."
"Robbing a post office? What are you going to get? How much are you going to get?" said Amir Jugortha who was annoyed he could complete his mailing chore. "Must be somebody very desperate. That’s dangerous."
Tina Selitte had a similar thought.
"I just don't get it," Selitte of West Haven said. "It just goes to show you how tough times are getting in this state. It’s getting really bad. For them to rob a post office, the government? That’s crazy."
U.S.P.S. spokesperson Brendan Murphy said robbing a U.S. postal facility carries a penalty up to 25 years in prison and/or up to a $2 million fine.
He stressed that no one was hurt in the incident.
"This is very, very rare. It doesn't happen often," Murphy said, urging customers to continue using the post office after full services resumed around 1 p.m.
Murphy said the USPS will give a reward to anyone who provides information leading to a conviction.