Volume No. 18 Issue No. 2 February 2021  



  Black Forest mailbox vandals
  

     Mailboxes are protected by federal law, and crimes against mailboxes and the mail inside are investigated by postal inspectors. Those who are convicted of destruction of federal property could spend up to three years in jail and fined up to $250,000.
   
   The above information is from the United States Postal Inspection website. According to nationalmailboxes.com, people living in rural or isolated areas tend to experience vandalism more often because their mailboxes are usually isolated; residential mailboxes are somewhat safer, but there are occasional vandalism cases.
   
   A Black Forest resident, who prefers to remain anonymous, lives in an area with 12 houses on their street. She said on Dec. 23, the residents discovered their community mailbox had been unbolted and stolen. It has been a month, and the residents have not received an update from the postal office. She said the residents also filed a police report but have not heard back on that front either. Presently, they have to drive to the Briargate post office to get their mail.
   
   Cheryl Sistare, resident of Black Forest, said on Christmas Eve she heard a loud explosion and found her mailbox had been blown up. This happened just one night after the community mailbox was stolen. Sistare said she is surprised that someone would be so bold; she lives on a busy road and the mailbox is not isolated. She said there is an active police report, although they have not heard back from them. The vandalized mailbox has been replaced with a locked one.
   
   Brenda Redman of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Denver Division Headquarters wrote in an email that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service. She said, “We work to ensure America’s confidence in the U.S. mail by enforcing more than 200 federal laws in investigations of crimes that may adversely affect postal customers or fraudulently use the U.S. mail or the postal system.” Redman said they take complaints from customers seriously and evaluate all complaints to help guide their investigations. “We have received a small number of mail theft reports in the Black Forest area and are actively investigating these reports,” she said.
    
   She included tips to help protect mail from thieves:
  • Don’t let incoming or outgoing mail sit in the mailbox, especially if checks, credit cards or other negotiable items are expected.
  • Have mail held by the Post Office while away; signup online at https://usps.com.
  • When expecting a package delivery, track the shipment at https://usps.com; sign up for email
  • If an expected check or other valuable mail is not delivered, contact the issuing agency.
  • Immediately file a change of address with the post office and anyone with whom business is done via the mail when moving.
  • Consider installing a lockable mailbox or obtaining a PO Box service from the local post office if there are concerns about security in one’s neighborhood.
  • Consider starting a neighborhood watch program to monitor residences and mailboxes.

   Redman said mail theft should be reported immediately to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by calling 877-876-2455 and say "theft," or by visiting the website at https://uspis.gov/report. She said if suspicious activity is noted regarding the mail or USPS postal facilities or employees, call 911 immediately, then call Postal Inspectors at the number above.
 
Black Forest has been the target of mailbox theft and vandalism. Photo by Cheryl Sistare
 
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