Mail theft increases
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.