The 39-year-old victim was unlocking his 2001 red Kia Sportage in the employee parking lot of the McVittie Postal Annex at 2100 Chanslor Ave. shortly after 5:30 p.m. when the suspect approached him and brandished a gun, postal officials said.
The suspect stole the victim's wallet and postal equipment before driving away in the victim's car, Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan said.
Postal officials said the victim suffered minor injuries.
"He was terrified," Gagan said. "The guy was threatening to kill him."
Richmond police immediately implemented an "inner city trap," in which officers parked at major intersections along routes leading into and out of the city, according to Gagan.
The officers looked for the postal worker's car for 20 minutes at those intersections but did not see it, Gagan said.
Police are still on the lookout today for the Kia, which has a California license plate No. 5GRS2000.
The suspect is described as a black male, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and wearing a hooded jacket, police said.
Robbery and assault of a U.S. Postal Service employee with a dangerous weapon are federal offenses and punishable by up to 25 years in prison, postal officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455 or the Richmond Police Department at (510) 620-6647.