Thursday, December 3, 2009
3 mail collection sites vandalized
Letters stolen from mail drop boxes in Kemp, Mabank and Malakoff
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Over the weekend, at least three U.S. Mail collection boxes were vandalized and the contents taken.
The boxes were located next to the post offices in Kemp, Mabank and Malakoff.
Two other boxes in East Texas, Doucette and Woodland, suffered a similar fate.
“At about 6:45 a.m. Monday morning, the FedEx truck arrived, and the driver noticed the lock to the box lying on the ground,” Nate Witcher, OIC (officer in charge), Kemp Post Office said.
The driver went inside and reported his observation to clerks Margie Houston and Camille Collinsworth. The clerks went outside and inspected the site, Witcher said.
It is estimated the theft occurred sometime between 2 p.m. Saturday (the last pickup from the box) and 5 a.m. Monday.
“It could have been anytime Saturday or Sunday nights,” he said.
“I immediately called the Kemp Police Department and the Postal Inspector,” Witcher said.
“I have already called the Postal Maintenance Department. They are bringing a new box,” he added.
Witcher posted a letter on the box announcing the theft and subsequent police involvement.
“We urge you to check your finances and make calls to anyone who might be affected,” the note states.
Postal customers are also advised to bring their outgoing mail to the inside drop slot.
A container, called a bucket, rests inside the blue mail receptacle and catches the mail deposited there. Thieves took it, along with its contents, Witcher explained.
“They have actually committed two (federal) crimes, that of breaking and damaging the mail drop box and the theft of the mail,” Sam Gonzales with the U.S. Postal Inspector Service said. “The statute actually reads ‘five years per piece of mail taken.’”
The Postal Inspector Service is a federal law enforcement agency with a very high conviction rate.
“We are going to pursue this very diligently,” he added.
Gonzales also had some tips for citizens.
“When you deposit mail, don’t put it in the box after the pickup time listed on the card. Take the time to go inside,” he said.
“If someone mails a check or money order and it later turns up missing, then is cashed by an unauthorized person, report it immediately,” he explained.
For information or to report or discuss problems, call 1-877-876-2457.
The office Gonzales serves has jurisdiction from Fort Worth to Tyler.
Nostalgia thick at 14th annual
Christmas on the Square
Police seek leads in
Copyright © 2009, MediaOne, L.L.C.