Mail theft in­creases

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHITTAKER

It’s one of the old­est crimes in the book but mail theft is on the rise and po­lice are warn­ing that the con­se­quences of hav­ing your post box raided can be se­ri­ous.

‘‘We are quite rou­tinely com­ing across of­fend­ers who have got mail in their pos­ses­sion that belongs to some­one else,’’ Auck­land City Po­lice In­spec­tor Vaughn Gra­ham says.

The in­crease has been no­ticed over the last three months.

‘‘A lot of it prob­a­bly goes un­re­ported though be­cause peo­ple won’t know some­thing was lost if they don’t know what was in there.’’

Po­lice are see­ing cases where thieves have been able to ac­cess bank de­tails us­ing mail they’ve taken, or gone on to com­mit bur­glar­ies be­cause peo­ple have left house keys in their mail­boxes.

‘‘It’s sur­pris­ing what peo­ple leave in their let­ter­boxes.

‘‘Peo­ple are un­der a mis­giv­ing that it is a safe area,’’ Mr Gra­ham says.

Apart­ment build­ings seem to be par­tic­u­larly at risk even though mail­boxes are of­ten in­side the com­plex, he says.

‘‘What an of­fender will quite of­ten do is wait and come in be­hind some­one else.’’

Mail­box theft is no small mat­ter and thieves can ex­pect tough con­se­quences.

‘‘We will lock them up,’’ Mr Gra­ham says.

The of­fence can be re­garded as bur­glary which car­ries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Theft can earn you up to seven years.

Own­ers can help pro­tect them­selves by hav­ing a lock on their let­ter­box, clear­ing it reg­u­larly and be­ing cau­tious about what they leave in it.

Sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour should be re­ported to po­lice or by call­ing Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.

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