Protect your mail from thieves

Mail arrives at your home every day. But do you know if your mail is being tampered with or even stolen? Knowing the answer to that question could end up saving you time and money.

It was ATM surveillance photos

that showed Rolando Solano and Jose Antigua as they deposited checks that were not theirs.  U.S. Postal Inspectors say they began tracking this duo while investigating complaints from customers not receiving their mail.

"When we looked at that, those checks going into this account, matched up with the address and name of the victims of the people that say they had not received mail or the mailbox had been pried open," explained Inspector Adam Fascio.

Authorities took photos of the duo to the public and asked for help identifying them.  It worked and the two were arrested. Solance was convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to two to four years in prison. Jose Antigua was also convicted with grand larceny and deported in lieu of prison time.

News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith says it's key to pay attention to your mail.

"You should be aware what's coming to you in the mail. Now, if you have not received it in a few days, the best thing to do is to contact the person or company who sent it to you and let them know you have not received it," advised Smith.

Smith says you should also be paying attention to the box itself.

"You go to your mailbox just about everyday, so you should be able to notice if it's been damaged. And if it has been damaged, contact your post office," said Smith.

U.S. Postal Inspectors offer step-by-step advice on ways to protect your outgoing and incoming mail:

  • Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don't leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
  • If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
  • Don't send cash in the mail.
  • Tell your Post Office when you'll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
  • Report all suspected mail theft to a Postal Inspector.
  • Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes).
  • Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.

Postal inspectors say if you see a mail thief at work, or if you believe your mail was stolen, call police immediately, then call Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 (press 3).