Mail thieves seek easy holiday handouts
In recent months, theft has become a problem in Sandy — the top problem, in fact, for the Sandy Police Department. Though the most prevalent cases at first appeared to be thefts from vehicles, a new concern has emerged regarding mail theft.
Several citizens have taken to social media and other public forums to express their frustration over stolen mail and/or broken mailboxes from Boring through Sandy. Few have been reported directly to the Sandy police, and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office has received only seven official reports regarding mail theft since April.
In these cases, the common theme arose of mailboxes being vandalized or damaged but mail not being taken.
A Sandy citizen recently contacted The Post and said she actually found mail from Boring scattered in the street in Sandy.
"I think that message we're trying to send is: Report it," Sgt. Sean Lundry said. "We're here 24/7, 365 days a year. They just have to call."
Mail theft, noted Lundry, presents unique problems for victims.
"The problem with mail is that unless you're expecting something, you might not know you're missing it," he said. "We've found it's usually people who are looking to score cash or checks or enough information to steal your identity."
A problem police encounter when they find someone with mail they suspect is stolen, but no one has reported it, is the officers don't have a way to build probable cause to stop the suspect or contact the victim.
Lundry also recommends alerting the U.S. postal inspector if you suspect your mail has been stolen, which can be done online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/ReportMailTheft.aspx.
The U.S. postal inspector's website suggests people take the following precautions to avoid mail theft:
n Hand outgoing mail directly to a postal carrier or deliver it to your local post office
n Be prompt about picking up your mail
n If you're expecting "valuable mail" and don't receive it, call the issuer
n Upon moving, change your mailing address and notify those who may send you mail frequently
n Notify your local post office of any long absence
n Report all suspicious activity
n Create a community of trust by starting a neighborhood watch or sharing schedules with friends and people in your neighborhood
n Keep up-to-date on mailbox regulations
Lundry added that this time of year, with the holidays fast approaching, mail theft becomes more prevalent.
If you are expecting packages, have them delivered when or where they won't be left unattended if you're concerned about theft.
For more suggestions on how to prevent mail theft in your neighborhood, visit postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/TipThieves.aspx or call postal inspectors at 877-876-2455 ext. 3.