NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk neighborhood is keeping a close eye on mailboxes after a string of recent mail thefts.
Residents living in the East Beach part of the city say mailboxes been hit multiple times over the last few weeks.
People who talked to 10 On Your Side said the stolen mail ranges from letters to small packages. Neighbors are hoping surveillance cameras will either deter the person from stealing the mail or help police track them down.
“It’s a target of opportunity,” said resident Gary Arnold.
Arnold said he was one of those targets. He opened his mailbox, only to find nothing inside. He said it happened more than once.
“We thought it was odd. We saw on the Facebook site that other people were missing mail,” Arnold said. “That’s when we realized that it wasn’t a ‘no mail’ day.”
He said several neighbors have posted about missing mail on social media. We’re told the incidents span the neighborhood.
Residents said earlier this week, a cluster of mailboxes were found open. The boxes don’t have locks.
One neighbor shared surveillance footage that shows a dark-colored vehicle pull up next to the house in the early morning hours. The mailbox is just outside the frame.
“It’s concerning,” said Willie Smith. “We often put our mail in the box that we’re mailing.”
Neighbors said they’re changing their routines.
“I had mail that I was sending out today, birthday cards for grandchildren,” Smith said. “I took it to the post office and mailed it rather than putting it in the box.”
They’re also staying vigilant. Neighbors hope surveillance will get a more clear picture of the thief if they come back.
“I just hope it stops. This is unfortunate that people will target somebody who’s completely innocent and try to cause trouble and steal from them,” Arnold said.
The residents reported the theft to police and the post office.
Theft of U.S. mail is a federal offense so if the suspect is caught, they could face up to five years in federal prison.
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