Flagler County officials warn of uptick in holiday mail theft

Thieves have struck at least four times in recent weeks



How very Grinch-like: Officials in Flagler County are warning people about mail thieves who have struck at least four times, stealing from incoming and outgoing mailboxes this holiday season.

The reported thefts include: five or six Christmas cards stolen from a sender’s mailbox Monday, on Eric Drive in Palm Coast; 25 to 30 Christmas cards taken from a sender’s mailbox Tuesday, on Esperanto Drive in Palm Coast; a package swiped from a recipient’s mailbox on U.S. 1 South in Bunnell, which happened sometime between Dec. 9 and Tuesday; and two gift cards stolen from a recipient’s mailbox on Cherry Lane in Bunnell, between Nov. 16 and Dec. 5, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Department.

Thieves typically look for more opportunities to commit crimes around the holiday season, said Palm Coast U.S. Postal Service Postmaster Jim Davis, adding that he is aware of a spike in these types of local cases.

Around this time of year, postal carriers are delivering packages early in the day to try to reach people before they head to work, Davis said. Also, due to the amount of increased holiday mail, carriers are delivering until the early evening hours.

Residents are warned not to send valuables, such as cards containing money, in their outgoing mailboxes. Instead, Davis said, use a U.S. Postal Service collection box, or the post office drive-up boxes in Bunnell, Flagler Beach and Palm Coast.

It’s a crime to vandalize mailboxes, which are considered federal property. People who break the law can be fined up to $250,000 or face the possibility of three years in prison for each act of vandalism.

The U.S. Postal Service offers these tips:

  • Use the letter slots at your post office to mail letters, or give them directly to a carrier.
  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery -- don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.
  • Ask your bank for “secure” checks that can’t be altered. 
  • Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town, so your mail can be held.

If you see a mail thief, or if you believe your mail was stolen, call the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office immediately by calling 911, then call Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 (press option three). You can also report it online.

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