HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Someone is going through public mailboxes and stealing the mail inside.
United States Postal Service officials say it happened at two spots in Hampton Roads.
“The suspects have forced entry into two collection boxes located at the Acredale Post Office in Virginia Beach as well as the Thomas Corner Post Office in Norfolk,” Postal Inspector Michael Romano said. “We believe mail was removed from these boxes and the boxes showed signs of tampering.”
Romano says the break-ins occurred sometime late Sunday into early Monday.
At the Thomas Corner Post Office in the JANAF shopping center, one box was wrapped up, blocking people from placing anything inside. On Thursday afternoon, post office employees removed it for repairs.
“Well I think its a terrible thing because people put money and checks in these boxes out here,” said Norfolk resident Alma Lewis.
Romano says the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating.
Stealing mail is a federal offense.
“It’s punishable up to five years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine for each count charged, so these are very serious offenses that occur,” Romano said.
He also said most of the 187 million pieces of mail the USPS moves daily make it to the right place. However, in this case, someone stopped that from happening.
“It appears that those boxes were forcefully opened,” said Romano.
All that’s left on the boxes now is a sign warning people about the crime.
“It’s kind of scary in a way,” said Norfolk resident April Chapman. “It’s not fair that anybody takes your stuff when you worked hard to get your stuff and somebody comes and, takes it. It makes you worry. Can you even trust anything nowadays?”
If you think you may have lost mail because of this theft or have information that can help in the investigation, call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service hotline at 877-876-2455 or visit their website.