HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An alert mailman and concerned neighbors helped police find the suspect who allegedly robbed the mailman at gunpoint in east Houston on Saturday, Nov. 28.
Sarah Gutierrez was out of town visiting family, but when her Ring doorbell camera buzzed, she picked up.
Gutierrez saw her normal mailman frantically knocking on her door and ringing the doorbell.
"Call the police," he can be heard yelling through a rough connection. "Excuse me?" Gutierrez replied, trying to hear. "Call the police, I have been robbed."
The mailman could then be seen running and knocking on the door of another neighbor, Corbin Dodge.
"He was in distress, called Ring for help. We weren't able to answer immediately, but everyone pulled together to get the security camera footage to police," said Dodge.
In the surveillance video reviewed by ABC13, you can see a man wearing a green hoodie, walking to the parked postal car. The view of the car is obstructed by a pole from the Ring camera footage, but soon after, you can see the man in the green hoodie take off with a bunch of mail under his arm.
The mailman, wearing a yellow rain jacket and with his mailbag over his shoulder, is seen running after the suspect.
The mailman was able to take down the license plate of the suspect's car. That information, along with the surveillance video, helped police to quickly locate the suspect.
Sunday night, Houston police, along with the United States Postal Inspection Service, were able to locate Curtivas Norman, 21, near his apartment at the 4900 block of MLK Blvd.
"I can't believe anybody would be dumb enough to rob a mailman," said Gutierrez. "I mean it's a federal offense, everyone knows that. How can you be so dumb to do something like that?"
Norman is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors in his initial court appearance said he had shown the butt of a gun to the mailman from under his green hoodie. Norman could be facing additional charges, but the USPIS says it's too early to say whether that will happen.
"We were wondering if they were going after gift cards or something for the holidays," said Dodge, who pointed out the suspect did not take any holiday packages. "He only got a handful of mail, and I don't know if that's worth it."
Overall, the robbery of postal workers is extremely rare around the country. According to USPIS records, in 2019, there were only 94 allegations of robberies in the entire country. By comparison, more than 5,000 dog attacks on postal workers were reported by the post office.