Mail theft ring investigation zeroing in on south Austin

A South Austin mailbox thief in action (KXAN Viewer Video)
A South Austin mailbox thief in action (KXAN Viewer Video)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Frustrated homeowners are hoping security video will nab the suspects swiping their packages and mail in their south Austin neighborhood.

The families say they’ve found mailboxes open and searched in their neighborhood near the intersection of Emerald Forest Drive and Austin Highlands Boulevard and packages disappearing. Video from one home shows a blue SUV driving by a house more than a week ago. The driver backs up, a woman then gets out, and heads straight towards the porch. The video shows that within seconds the woman is running back to the SUV with two packages.

“It’s real frustrating, because this is kind of a blue collar neighborhood and I just feel for the people that live here,” said Joe Skiff, who is a postal worker in the area. “They work hard for their money and they don’t deserve this.” Skiff says he looks for anything suspicious when he’s on his route. He says several community mailboxes have been broken into almost every day recently.

Austin police are investigating the thefts involving the packages. The postal inspectors thinks these thieves may be part of a bigger group targeting south Austin. In December, three people were charged with theft in the Circle C neighborhood in southwest Austin. “These suspects are often part of a larger operation and tend to operate across multiple jurisdictions which tends to complicate the detection and investigation,” explained Anna Sabana with Austin Police.

Investigators also made two more arrests earlier this month after mail was stolen in north Austin. Police say they’re seeing reports about suspicious people casing local neighborhoods, but that isn’t enough information to turn into a lead. “We would ask for as much specific information as is available, such as a full description of the person/people involved, what actions they were doing, which direction they were last seen heading and if they observed any vehicles accompanying them,” said Sabana.

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