Rural Mail Theft Is On the Rise - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/06/06 - East Texas

Rural Mail Theft Is On the Rise

by Ramonica R. Jones

Mail thieves are after your credit card applications, blank checks, bill payments, and anything that will help them steal from you, but you don't have to be a victim of mail theft.

U.S. Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey said, "Put your outgoing mail in a secure box, say a blue collection box or even at the post office itself. Work may also be a safe place if the mailman comes inside to pick up the mail. Another thing you'd want to consider is to remove your mail as quickly as possible from your mail box; definitely don't leave it out there overnight. If you feel very strongly about the fact that you can't get it early enough, you may want to have a trusted neighbor remove it during the day."

Texas joins California and Arizona on the postal service's list of states now dealing with massive mail thefts.

"We often attribute this to drug use, specifically methamphetamine. However, where we do see meth abuse, not only do we see more mail theft, but the community suffers from an overall higher crime rate - burglary, prostitution, shoplifting, auto theft."

Taking mail is a felony. It's something postal inspectors are serious about preventing. If several pieces of mail are stolen, there can be a criminal charge for each piece.

And mail thieves do not get probation. Whatever prison sentence is handed down in a mail theft case will be served behind bars. To report mail theft go to usps.com/postalinspectors.

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