TUCSON (KVOA) - Mail theft has been happening in rural Tucson for years. Some of the people who live there have told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that they want the problem fixed now.
"Checks, bills, packages. We're getting mail stolen at an increasing rate lately,” Mark Lockwood, a mail theft victim said.
Fed up, Lockwood got creative.
"I took a wildlife camera and mounted it in my mailbox over there," Lockwood said. "Within two weeks, I had a perfect picture of a mail thief.”
He said he caught the alleged culprit on camera, taking his mail.
Lockwood and a group of neighbors told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that they've been dealing with this for a long time.
"Several years ago, I had a check stolen,” Brad Cowan, a mail theft victim said.
Even their postal carrier agreed.
"I've been the carrier for this route for over six years,” Doreen Mielke, a mail carrier said. "I see this problem all over this area."
Lockwood said he filed a theft report with the local sheriff's department and the U.S. Postal Service.
"After several weeks no one had gotten back,” Lockwood said.
So the News 4 Tucson Investigators asked USPS, why the delay?
A spokesperson said they'd pass our concern along.
Lockwood said that shortly after we reached out to USPS, they reached out to him.
"As a result of your inquiries, they realized that they had mixed my name up with someone else who they had contacted. And so sure enough they called up. They were very apologetic,” Lockwood explained.
The mix-up has been cleaned up.
“People stealing mail, stealing anything else, they need to be caught and prosecuted. They do not need to be predators on other people,” Cowan said.
So, what has been done about the theft?
"Right now, we're in the process of finding evidence that would serve as any sort of lead in an investigation,” Daniel Grossenbach with the US Postal Inspection Service told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.
While it has been unclear if the man found on Lockwood's mailbox camera was the thief, Grossenbach said, "if you recognize this person, if you've had anything stolen, call 877-876-2455 and say "theft".
To avoid mail theft, USPS has suggested the following:
- Rent a P.O. Box
- Send outgoing mail through a collection box
- Use a mailbox lock
- Monitor your mailbox and check it often
If you have a story you’d like us to investigate email us at email@example.com or call our tip line at 955-4444.