Thieves targeting collection box at College Station Post Office
At least five cases have been reported just this month, said police.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The United States Postal Service confirms it has received reports of stolen mail at the College Station Post Office on Harvey Mitchell Parkway South.
According to College Station Police Department, there have been five thefts reported since the start of November. The mail is being stolen from the blue USPS collection box that’s outside of the post office. In August of last year, a similar situation happened in Bryan.
With the holidays quickly approaching Postal Plus owner, Becky Cochener said there are growing concerns about putting checks in the mail and they’ve seen an uptick in mail being sent out in preparation for the holidays.
“Our mailboxes have been rented out because people are so concerned about thefts on their porches or apartment complexes,” Cochener said. “We are renting out a ton of mailboxes and we actually have virtual mailboxes that we’re renting out to.”
Cochener said from her experience the holidays also mean more thieves looking to snag other people’s mail. The business that also manages Texas A&M University’s dorm mail has already received two complaints in the last couple of weeks from students who say they received letters that had been opened.
“We do our due diligence, we have video, we look at that and investigate,” Cochener said. “One of them looked like machinery had caught on something and opened it. The other did look like a slit. In those cases we ask and advise the students and whoever sent the card, both to notify the inspector general online and file a complaint.”
Cochener said Postal Plus does its best to proactively identify any issues and notify those affected along with providing them with a course of action.
“I always tell my folks, hey you look at every piece, every card that comes in because that’s where I think things tend to be more at risk, some of those cards that might have gift cards coming in them at least on campus,” Cochener said. “But around Christmas time porch piracy is at a high.”
For those with a tracking number, Cochener suggests going online and entering it on the postal services missing mail search.
“If there’s not any productivity from that they can do an online claim,” Cochener said. “If they ship through a third party like ourselves let us do that work for you. That’s our job because you brought it to us to mail it. We can do the circles and the headaches for you.”
Postal Plus also includes other options such as virtual mailboxes and its receiving service, Cochener said.
“We’ll receive a one-off item and we’ll just charge a fee for that,” Cochener said. “That’s something they can look into especially if it’s of significant or sentimental value.”
KBTX reached out to the U.S. Postal Inspection Services who provided this statement:
“Every day, the US Postal Service safely delivers mail to more than 150 million addresses; mail that includes checks, money orders, credit cards, and merchandise. While the U.S. Mail remains one of the most secure means to transmit such items, unfortunately, these items are attractive to thieves.
The USPIS has received reports of mail theft from the USPS collection box located outside the Post Office at 2130 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy S, College Station, TX 77840. Postal Inspectors are looking into these reports. Inspectors work with local law enforcement partners and the community to identify those responsible for mail theft.
Every mailbox, from an apartment panel to a blue USPS collection box, has strong security measures in place to protect the contents. However, thieves will use a variety of methods and tools to attempt to bypass these security measures. Mail theft most often occurs in the overnight hours when there are fewer people around to witness it.
While mail theft can occur, there are steps postal customers can take to minimize becoming a victim. Don’t let incoming mail sit in your mailbox. Postal Inspectors recommend checking your mailbox every day and removing your mail as promptly as possible. Customers can hand their outgoing mail to a uniformed letter carrier, deposit it into the mail slot inside the lobby of their local post office or drop it into an official blue USPS collection box. If they use the USPS collection box, they should ensure they drop off their mail BEFORE the last collection time of the day, which is displayed on the box. The longer your mail sits in any mailbox, the more susceptible it is to theft.
The U.S. Mail remains one of the safest and most trusted ways to send gifts and greetings to friends and loved ones. We encourage all customers to follow the U.S. Postal Inspection Service prevention tips to safeguard their mail. More information can be found on our website, www.uspis.gov.
Postal Inspectors rely on the reports by customers to identify any items taken from the mail. If you believe you may be a victim of mail theft, you should report it to your local police AND to the Postal Inspection Service by calling our hotline, 877-876-2455, or visiting our website, www.uspis.gov. If you are a witness to mail theft or have knowledge of mail theft-related activity, Postal Inspectors ask that you provide your tips by calling our hotline or visiting our website.
Mail theft is a crime punishable by up to five years prison and substantial fines.”
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