It only takes a matter of minutes for a criminal to break open a community mailbox and steal mail.
Once inside the box, the suspect has access to numerous customer’s mail.
Over the past several months, the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment has noticed an increase in the number of theft of mail reports and believe it represents only a small portion of the actual victims involved.
“We often receive one or two reports of a community mailbox that was broken into,” said Cpl. Tania Finn, media relations officer. “But, that mailbox can contain 12 or more individual customer boxes. It is possible that many customers are not aware their mail had been stolen and used in an identity theft.”
Since Jan. 1, Finn said there have been 33 reports of mail theft made to the local RCMP with areas targeted ranging from rural roads in Enderby, Spallumcheen and Deep Creek to suburban areas of Coldstream and Vernon.
An Enderby resident posted two pictures on a Facebook page Monday, April 20, showing two of 41 individual mailboxes wide open in a three-cluster group of boxes, and also tools left behind by the alleged thief.
While the security of the community mailboxes is the responsibility of Canada Post, there are many steps customers can take to help protect their mail.
“One of the easiest ways is to collect the mail daily from the boxes as suspects most often use the cover of darkness to commit their crimes and any mail left overnight could be stolen,” Cpl. Finn said. “As well, be sure to report any mailbox damage to Canada Post for immediate repair. If you see suspicious activity around your mailbox, report it to the police at the time it is occurring and provide a detailed description of the suspect and any vehicle associated.”
If you have any information regarding these incidents, please contact your local detachment’s non-emergency line. Or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leaving a tip online at www.nokscrimestoppers.com. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.