CHARLOTTE — Video obtained by Channel 9 shows thieves stealing mail twice from same Cotswold mailboxes in just a few weeks.
Victims say the thieves stole mail from a clusterbox at an office building on Sharon Amity Road in Cotswold on Oct. 30. In surveillance video, you can see the thieves dump the mail into a trash bag.
Victims say the thieves hit the same mailboxes on Nov. 13, and there’s video of that too. It’s hard to tell if it’s the same people.
Katie Walker is a real estate lawyer in the building. She worries about money and legal documents ending up in the wrong hands.
“A lot of the money that I’m dealing with is not my money, so it’s my clients’ money and so I have a duty to protect their money,” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.
She says her building put up the cameras recently and she complained to postal officials.
“And we’ve gotten no assistance from them, nothing,” she said.
Part of the problem is one postal key -- called an “arrow” key -- opens a lot of mailboxes.
“That’s maddening to me,” Walker said. “It’s very frustrating to feel like you can’t trust the system that is supposed to be basic ... like a basic system in the United States.”
Walker would like the U.S. Postal Service to change that, or change the locks when thieves steal keys.
The U.S. Postal Service emailed Stoogenke:
“The security and sanctity of the mail is a top priority for the Postal Service in addition to providing safe, reliable delivery. If carriers were required to carry separate keys for each clusterbox unit (CBU) it would create extreme inefficiencies with delivery.
“Relocation of the CBU may be an option. If the property owner/manager wants to relocate the CBU, they can coordinate with the local USPS station manager to find a safe, suitable location for the CBU. The station manager can be contacted at 704-566-3105 or 3717 Eastway Drive, Charlotte, NC 28205.
“Mail theft is a crime and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement agency that investigates crimes involving the mail, works diligently with local law enforcement to combat mail theft. To report suspected mail theft, customers can file a complaint online at www.uspis.gov or call 1-877-876-2455.”
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service emailed Stoogenke:
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s mission is to protect the U.S. Postal Service employees, customers, and it’s infrastructure by investigating illegal activity and ensuring the public’s trust in the mail. Every day, the U.S. Postal Service safely delivers mail to more than 163 million addresses; mail that includes checks, money orders, credit cards and merchandise. Unfortunately, such items are also attractive to thieves.
“U.S. Postal Inspectors are working diligently with our local law enforcement partners to combat mail theft. Postal Inspectors use a variety of preventive and investigative tools to identify and arrest those individuals responsible for these crimes. To maintain the integrity of those investigations, the Inspection Service cannot provide additional details. Please be assured that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is focused on investigating those who steal the U.S. Mail and bringing them to justice.
“There are steps, however, that customers can take to keep their mail safe. Don’t let incoming mail sit in your mailbox. If you are expecting a check or an important delivery, Postal Inspectors recommend checking your mailbox daily and removing your mail as promptly as possible. Outgoing mail can be deposited inside your local post office or into a blue USPS collection box. If it is deposited into a collection box, be sure to do so BEFORE the final collection time of the day, which is displayed on the box. The longer your mail stays in the mailbox, the more susceptible it is to theft. Mail theft most often occurs in the over-night hours when there are no people around to witness the theft. Please visit www.uspis.gov for additional mail theft preventive tips.
“If you believe you are a victim of mail theft, you should report it to the local police AND to the Postal Inspection Service by calling our hotline at 877-876-2455 (say “theft”) or by visiting our website at www.uspis.gov/report.”
(WATCH BELOW: Man pleads guilty in $200,000 bank fraud case after stealing checks from mail)
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