Patterson Sgt. Paul Yotsuya confirmed Thursday, Jan. 24, that detectives and federal agents had been looking into thefts of mail from three neighborhood mailboxes Jan. 14.
Pauline Bellinger, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection office in Oakland, said Tuesday, Jan. 29, that details about the thefts would not be released, but there are ways for residents to protect their mail:
• Never send cash or coins in the mail. Use checks or money orders.
• Promptly remove mail after delivery, especially if you are expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items. If you won’t be home when the items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up the mail.
• Have your local post office hold your mail while you are on vacation or absent from home for a long period of time.
• If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
• If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
• Always deposit mail in a mail slot at the local post office, or hand it to your letter carrier.
Bellinger said the U.S. Postal Service offers a reward up to $10,000 for information and service leading to the arrest and conviction of any anyone involved in mail theft. Penalties for mail theft include up to five years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000.
To report mail theft, call the United States Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 or visit http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.