Mail thieves plac­ing a sticky sub­stance in­side mail­boxes

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY CARMEN GE­ORGE cge­[email protected]­nobee.com Carmen Ge­orge: 559-441-6386, @Car­menGe­orge

Thieves are us­ing sticky sub­stances to steal mail in Fresno County.

The U.S. Postal In­spec­tion Ser­vice con­firmed a post of­fice in Clo­vis has been af­fected fol­low­ing a re­port from a res­i­dent, and said sim­i­lar things have happened at other Fresno County post of­fices. Other lo­ca­tions weren’t dis­closed Fri­day.

Res­i­dent Linda Corbin said over the past month she’s no­ticed a sticky sub­stance coat­ing the in­side of blue mail col­lec­tion boxes that cars can drive up to out­side the Clo­vis post of­fice on Min­newawa Av­enue near Bullard Av­enue. She said she’s no­ticed a sticky sub­stance in­side the boxes there at least half a dozen times.

On Fri­day morn­ing, she tried to pull one stuck let­ter free. The at­tempt left her hands coated with a sub­stance she de­scribed like a gel glue. Her hands re­mained sticky af­ter wash­ing them 10 times.

“It was ter­ri­ble to­day, and my hand was stick­ing to the steer­ing wheel,” she said. “Luck­ily there was no cars be­hind me so I just sat there for a while try­ing to clean my hands off.”

Corbin was told the Clo­vis post of­fice has been clean­ing the mail col­lec­tion boxes daily be­cause of this is­sue.

She said she’s been mail­ing her let­ters at the post of­fice to avoid mail­box theft “and we find out it’s not any safer.”

“There’s got to be some­thing to be done to pro­tect the cit­i­zens,” Corbin said. “If my legs were good I would go in­side the post of­fice but it’s hard for me to walk.”

RE­PORT MAIL THEFT, SUS­PI­CIOUS AC­TIV­ITY

Postal in­spec­tor Jeff Fitch, a spokesman for the U.S Postal In­spec­tion Ser­vice, said there is a team of postal in­spec­tors sta­tioned in Fresno who are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Clo­vis in­ci­dent and others.

Fitch en­cour­aged peo­ple to re­port mail theft or sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity at post of­fices to the U.S. Postal In­spec­tion Ser­vice by call­ing 877-876-2455 and fil­ing a re­port at us­pis.gov along with local law en­force­ment – although Fitch said his agency does com­mu­ni­cate th­ese thefts with other agen­cies. He said the Clo­vis Police Depart­ment and his agency have been in con­tact.

If some­one’s iden­tity is stolen via stolen mail, Fitch said that in­di­vid­ual should also re­port the lo­ca­tions of any fraud­u­lent pur­chases dis­cov­ered, which helps de­tec­tives track down sus­pects.

The ser­vice has a $10,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of some­one who steals mail. A per­son who com­mits mail theft can spend up to

‘‘

THERE’S GOT TO BE SOME­THING TO BE DONE TO PRO­TECT THE CIT­I­ZENS.

Linda Corbin

five years in prison and have to pay up to $250,000 in fines.

Fitch said there are nu­mer­ous mail theft schemes and that mail theft has been in­creas­ing in Cal­i­for­nia over the past few years. Us­ing sticky sub­stances to steal mail is not new, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.