Police: Mail Thefts on Uptick, Take Steps to Safeguard Your Mail

The King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) said on Friday, January 9, 2015, that Northeast King County has been experiencing an increase in mail thefts, with 68 reports in a recent 14-week period. The North Bend Post Office also reported incidents of mailbox break-ins in late December.

KCSO stated the reasons behind this uptick are unclear, but that detectives had arrested several suspects and recovered over 1,000 pieces of stolen mail in December.

Even with the arrests, mailboxes continue to be an easy target of opportunity for thieves. KCSO says the suspects are looking for mail that contains items they can turn around quickly; such as gift cards and/or cash. If they find checks they’re washing them, making them out to themselves and changing the amounts.

 While the thefts happen at all hours of the day, most occur during two different time periods: 12PM – 2PM and 12AM – 2AM.

The suspects target traditional mailboxes, yet they aren’t deterred by locking ones either. They will pry open locked boxes and have even gone so far as to use a torch on the hinges on a bank of mailboxes – like those found in many housing developments.

recoverd mail
Stolen mail recovered by KCSO in December, over 1,000 pieces



Tips to Protect Your Mail

To protect yourself from these thefts, make it a habit to collect your mail every day. Don’t ever leave your mail in the box overnight. Also, consider buying a locking mailbox.

If you’re going on vacation either arrange for a neighbor to collect your mail or ask the post office to hold your mail until you return. When sending mail, don’t place it out for your mail carrier; drop it off at the post office. Remember, that red flag is a notice to everyone that there is mail in the box.

KCSO stresses that most importantly, citizens know best what is suspicious activity in their neighborhood. They are urged to call police if they see someone spending time at or near mailboxes or following a mail carrier.

Several arrests of mail thieves have happened because citizens reported something they saw that just didn’t seem right.



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