Thieves targeting mailboxes in northeast Austin

Mailbox thefts reported in northeast Austin (KXAN Photo/Lindsay Bramson)
Mailbox thefts reported in northeast Austin (KXAN Photo/Lindsay Bramson)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating a rash of mailbox thefts in parts of northeast Austin.

A community mailbox was broken into and some people who live there say they couldn’t get any help to get it repaired. Investigator Lindsay Bramson reports, not only did KXAN help get results they found the problem is affecting people up and down Interstate 35.

It’s a problem Amy Rebel says has been going on since October; mail being taken right out of her mailbox.

“I have people calling like I sent you this and I’m like I never received it. I don’t know where it is,” said Rebel. With Christmas just two weeks away Rebel says she’s afraid to order anything online after thieves pried open her mailbox twice since October. “I’ve made it to where I told my son and daughter buy something that’s actually in a store that we can go to now.”

Rebel says she had to order a new credit card after she didn’t receive her new one in the mail. The credit card company confirmed it had been delivered, but when she went to get it out of the mailbox it wasn’t there. Soon after we contacted the postal inspector, crews came out and took the box away.

“What we want to do is take the box back, repair it so mail can be secured in a box,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Sullivan.

Sullivan says he believes thieves are targeting neighborhoods up and down the I-35 corridor.

Ronald Walker says medication his wife needs has also been taken along with other things.

“That’s our real concern is the medication. And that’s how we get it is through the mail from the VA,” said Walker.

While he’s happy to see the postal service is finally fixing their box, he hopes these thieves are caught soon before they strike again. The U.S. Postal Service wants to remind people to get their mail every night especially this time of year and if you see any suspicious activity call police.

From April through September, the Office of the Inspector General closed more than 2,200 investigations. This included more than 460 convictions in court or pre-trial actions. And it’s not always some crook on the outside trying to take advantage of your letters and packages. The Postal Service Inspector General says that from last October through March, including the holiday season, the office looked into more than 750 reports of internal mail theft. That led to nearly 240 arrests in just that time period.

Have an issue with your mail you want the post office to look into? Click here to write them, call, fax or email.

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