INDIANAPOLIS — Since moving to the Salem Creek neighborhood in 2007, Ashley Gosman said she’s never had mail issues.

That’s why she’s trying to make sense of what her security camera captured from outside her home.

“The first thing I thought was he can’t be serious,” she said.

It happened last week, just before 3 a.m., on Tuesday, January 18th. In the video, which Gosman also shared with FOX59, it shows a car sitting in the middle of Concert Lane. Minutes later, the driver gets out, starts opening mailboxes and tosses some of the contents.

It wasn’t until later in the morning, when taking her daughter to the bus stop, that she and neighbors noticed pieces of mail on the street.

“I came in, and I checked our cameras and I’m like ‘Well, it is! It’s a mail thief! He’s sitting right in front of our house just checking the mail!’” she exclaimed.

Gosman and a neighbor collected all of the loose mail they could find before turning it over to their local mail carrier.

“I told him, ‘I want to give it to you. I want to put it in your hands so that you have it.’,” she said, “He was like ‘From your neighbors, and from the postal service myself, I want to thank you.’”

Gosman has since posted the video on neighborhood apps, warning others to keep an eye out within their own communities. The warning comes as important documents and products, like free at-home COVID tests from the federal government, are expected to arrive at households soon.

“It’s critical to be vigilant in times, like this, where there’s something going on that’s pretty prevalent to everyone,” said Jennifer Adamany, communications director for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana.

“You want to make sure you promptly pick up your mail, so try not to leave any packages in your mailbox or at your door for any length of time,” she said. “You can request a hold mail service through the USPS. You can even request to pick up the item at the post office, so that way you can ensure no one is going through your mailbox.”

We also reached out to USPS, asking what people should do if they suspect mail theft in their area.

If you see it happening, USPS urges you to call police immediately, then report it to Postal Inspectors at (877) 876-2455 (say “Theft”).

If you believe your mail was stolen, you can report it online at www.uspis.gov or call (877) 876-2455.

“By analyzing information from the complaint, Postal Inspectors can determine if their problem is part of a larger mail theft problem and the input may help Inspectors locate and apprehend thieves,” said USPS in a statement.

Other suggestions from USPS include:

  • Don’t let incoming or outgoing mail sit in your mailbox. You can significantly reduce the chance of being victimized by simply removing your mail from your mailbox every day.
  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you’re expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items. If you won’t be home when the items are expected, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail.
  • Just as you wouldn’t leave the door to your home unlocked while you’re away, you shouldn’t let mail accumulate in your mailbox. Don’t leave your mail unattended for extended periods. Have your Post Office hold your mail while you’re away. You can do this online at www.usps.com.
  • When expecting a package delivery, track the shipment at www.usps.com. You can sign up for email and text alerts at www.myusps.com.
  • If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
  • Hand outgoing mail to your letter carrier, or mail it at the Post Office, an official blue USPS collection box on the street, or a secure receptacle at your place of business.
  • Never send cash or coins in the mail. Use checks or money orders. Ask your bank for “secure” checks that are more difficult to alter.
  • If you have concerns about security in your neighborhood, consider installing a lockable mailbox or obtaining P.O. Box service from your local Post Office.
  • Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted neighbors, you can watch each other’s mailboxes and residences.