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500 mail thefts investigated in Indianapolis since November

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Mail thieves have had a busy year in neighborhoods across Indianapolis, according to the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office.

“Currently there are several open cases of mail theft,” said Postal Inspector Laura Carter. “I believe there are three open cases, and we currently have over 500 victims.”

Five hundred residents around Indianapolis have had mail stolen from mailboxes since November, 2017. It’s not known if the three active cases are the work of the same group. Many mail theft victims don’t know they’ve had mail stolen. That’s why victims are receiving letters from the Postal Inspectors Office, alerting them that their mail has been found and turned over for investigation.

“The United States Postal Inspection Service is currently investigating the suspected theft of your mail,” the letter states. “It is possible your bank accounts or credit cards may have been compromised.”

The letter goes on to provide instructions on how to contact the Postal Inspectors Office, and a questionnaire about when mail may have gone missing, and any suspect information the victim can provide.

In many cases, victims don’t realize they’ve had mail stolen until they’re informed by the Postal Inspectors Office.

“That’s generally how our cases will start when we have the mail theft,” Carter said. “Somebody will find a bundle of discarded mail that looks like it’s been rifled, ripped open. And they report it to the local police.”

Carter says people have been finding and turning in those bundles of mail across the city since November.

“It’s been everywhere,” Carter said. “Dumpsters, on the side of the road, parking lots.”

“The group of mail thieves is targeting affluent neighborhoods,” Carter continued. “They are looking for flags up on a mailbox.”

Such targeting took place back in May in the Westbourne Townhomes on the northwest side. Multiple residents reported their mailbox doors left open and items either taken or rifled through. Four months later, a handful of residents in the neighborhood have now received the alert letter from the Postal Inspector Service.

“You like to feel that you’re secure no matter where you live,” said Westbourne Townhomes resident Joyce Mangia. “And whether it’s someone looking in your windows or checking your mail, you just feel they’re in a place they should not be.”

“It’s very, very creepy,” said fellow Westbourne resident Alexis Gibson. “I don’t know who’s going in my mailbox, if they’re getting my mail or other peoples’ mail.”

As the Postal Inspectors Office investigates the thefts, they’re urging people to keep an eye on their neighborhoods. Specifically, keep an eye out for anyone looking into or reaching into mailboxes, but isn’t delivering mail.

Carter says people leaving fliers in neighborhoods should not leave them inside mailboxes. Also, Amazon, UPS and FedEx deliveries should not be left inside mailboxes. Only mail delivered by the US Postal Service should be left inside one’s mailbox.

The Postal Inspection Service has information on their website, including how to protect your mail and report mail theft.