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Reports of opened mailboxes in Columbia County prompt concern; tips offered for mail safety

Law enforcement responded to reports of possible mail thefts last week in St. Helens and are requesting anyone who sees suspicious behavior to report it.

The St. Helens Police Department responded to several reports of possible mail thefts Sunday, March 31, and Thursday, April 4, along Columbia Boulevard and Sykes Road.

On Sunday, several callers reported finding their mailboxes open and empty in the morning, and a similar incident was reported on Thursday, a press release from SHPD stated.

Sgt. Evin Eustice explained that a caller reported seeing numerous mailboxes opened up on Sykes Road between Summit View Road and Highway 30. Eustice said on Friday afternoon that no pieces of mail had been reported stolen, but there is a possibility items may have been taken. Officers are encouraging residents who believe they are missing important pieces of mail or other items to report it to police so it can be properly investigated.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office received several similar calls, but Sheriff Brian Pixley said no suspects have been identified. He also did not specify where the incidents had been reported.

"The primary officer investigating this wanted to remind people that if they did have something stolen they have to report it to police," Eustice explained, adding that making comments or posts on social media isn't the same thing.

Officers have been in touch with the United States Postal Service and are investigating the incidents. The investigation is ongoing.

Any suspicious activity should be reported to police, especially when unusual vehicles or people are stopped at or are lingering by mailboxes, or if someone claiming to be a USPS worker does not have identification, the press release adds.

Eustice said SHPD reminds residents to follow the advice of see something, say something.

"We encourage anyone, if you see anything out of the ordinary, something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up or you go wait, what? We always say, when in doubt, call us," Eustice said. "We'd rather be called and it be nothing than to just let it go until something bad happens."

SHPD is recommending the following safety tips:

? Check your mail on a regular basis

? Consider purchasing a locking mailbox. Follow the USPS mailbox guidelines listed on its website

? Sign up for informed delivery so that you know when sensitive mail will arrive

? Trim landscaping from around your mailbox to keep the box more visible

? Never send cash in the mail

? When possible, use the drop box located at the post office for outgoing mail

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