The US Postal Service is investigating three recent incidents of mass mail thefts including seven discarded garbage bags full of mail and the ransacking of two “neighborhood mailbox” units resulting in mail stolen from 40 Santa Clarita Valley businesses.
On Monday morning, Canyon Country resident Jennifer Langford woke to find seven black garbage bags dumped in front of her house by the gutter.
“I went out there and looked inside,” she said. “It was mail addressed to different people on different streets. There were catalogues and multiple coupon books, packages and bills.”
Addresses on the discarded mail included: Seco Canyon Road, Laroda Lane, Cypress Place, Dakota Drive, Garnet Canyon Road, Alamo Way and Stagecoach Way.
Some of the mail bore September postmarks, Langford said.
The only other items in the bags were the discarded wrappers of snacks which Langford suspects were snacks consumed by the mail thieves.
Langford immediately contacted deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the U.S. Postal Service.
“They didn’t sound very encouraged,” she said. “They didn’t seem to think anything would come of it.”
When asked which agency she was referring to, she said both.
In a separate incident, mail thieves broke into a Neighborhood mailbox on Avenue Scott and stole mail from the mailboxes of 20 businesses.
“It must be a pretty significant problem,” said Cheryl Leehne whose mail was stolen from Avenue Scott. “Because the same thing happened to businesses on Avenue Stanford a month ago.”
Leehne learned of the earlier mass mail theft from a man whose business on Avenue Stanford was hit.
Victimized businesses on both Avenue Stanford and Avenue Scott have since been picking up their mail from the Creekside post office, Leehne said.
“Apparently, when they pop one of the locks on the outgoing mailboxes they can reach in flip a latch from the inside which opens all the other boxes.
Stacie Crane, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said the service is “always looking for more secure boxes. A criminal is always going to try and break in.
“We’ve had thieves chain them up with a truck to steal them,” she said about similar communal mailboxes at a location outside of the SCV.
Crane advises residents to “pick up your mail daily. Do not leave it overnight. Most of the mail thieves operate under the cover of darkness. Why leave it there for them?
“Also, people should shred all their personal paperwork bearing identification information,” she said. “If you subscribe to a catalogue then remove the customer ID number printed on it.”
Lt. Brenda Cambra, who oversees the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station’s Detective Section has tips for people worried about mail theft. They include:
– Pick up your mail as soon after it is delivered as you can. Never leave it in the box overnight.
– Pay your bills on line, deliver the bill payments to the post office or hand your mail to the postal carrier rather than putting in your personal mail box to be picked up by the postal carrier.
– Have the Post office hold your mail when you are out of town.
– Complete the change of address form when you move.
– If you don’t receive a check or a package when it’s expected, contact the issuing agency immediately.
– Report anyone tampering with mailboxes to your local law enforcement and the Postal Inspector.
Do not put personal information in the mail.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt