After Mililani mail theft, what you can do to protect your mail

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Crimestoppers released two videos of what appears to be a female suspect in a green car, stealing mail on Ainamakua Drive and Kowa Street in Mililani.

“These particular incidents were caught on surveillance, but it’s possible she may have also stole mail from other people that didn’t have video surveillance,” said Sgt. Chris Kim with Crimestoppers.

Both thefts occurred within a week in September, but police are still on the look out for the alleged thief.

With the busy holiday mail season coming up, Kim said now is the time to take precaution.

“The public has options. We encourage the public to start utilizing the mail boxes that are able to lock. They’re also able to drop their mail off at a post office and they also may want to consider signing up for a P.O. box as well,” said Kim.

Hardware Hawaii is one of the retailers on Oahu which sells lockable mailboxes. Dave Purington with Hardware Hawaii said regular mail boxes can be hard to secure.

“It just takes you know a second, and you can open [the mail box] and somebody could take your mail,” said Purington.

Purington said with a lockable mail box, it’s much more difficult for a thief to get in.

“With these, these heavier ones, they have a key lock. It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of noise to break open this,” said Purington.

These mail boxes with locks range from $80 to $200.

Kim said another option could be signing up for informed delivery with the post office.

“At the beginning of the day, you’re going to get a message via e-mail and they’re basically going to scan your mail. So whichever mail that you’re supposed to receive that day, you’re going to know before it gets to your mailbox,” said Kim.

The U.S. Postal Service said customers can also take these actions to help minimize the chances they become victims of mail theft:

  • Never send cash in the mail.
  • Retrieve mail as soon as possible after delivery.
  • Have important packages delivered to work, if possible, or to a trusted neighbor who you know will be home.
  • Use a vacation hold if you will be away for any length of time between 3 and 30 days.
  • Advise senders of important mailings to require a signature upon delivery.
  • Use letter slots at the Post Office to mail letters or hand them to your letter carrier.
  • Sign up for real-time tracking at www.usps.com.
  • Go online or ask the Post Office to redeliver a package or have them hold it for you at the Post Office. Some expedited service products offer time-certain delivery options that allow customers to better manage the receipt of important packages.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police and to the Postal Inspection Service. The toll-free 24/7 number to the Postal Inspection Service is (877) 876-2455. Suspicious activity may include someone following the letter carrier, attempting to break into a Postal vehicle or mailbox, or tampering with mail.
  • Consider purchasing a locking mailbox.
  • Consider purchasing insurance on valuable items.
  • When using USPS blue collection boxes, do not deposit mail into the box when it’s full to the point you can see mail in the snorkel or slot.
  • Install security cameras at home, keep a record of dates when you last checked it was in good working order, ensure it has an accurate time stamp, and consider replacing older analog cameras with modern digital ones.

Stealing mail is a federal crime with those convicted possibly facing up to five years in prison. The USPS is offering a $10,000 reward to any information that may lead to an arrest or conviction of someone stealing mail in Hawaii.

For those who may also have information on the mail thefts in Mililani, they are asked to contact Crimestoppers by calling (808) 955-8300 or visiting their website.

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