Thieves target mailboxes in Atlantic Beach

Main Street residents say they're worried about their identities being stolen

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – There's a neighborhood crime alert in Atlantic Beach, where thieves are targeting mailboxes.

According to police, several people living on Main Street, off of Orchid Street, reported mail being stolen from their mailboxes this weekend.

News4Jax was told a credit card application was stolen from one person's mailbox, which has many neighbors now worried about their identities being stolen. 

Alvin Farmer said he was walking his dog, Bingo, on Saturday when he noticed his neighbors' mail scattered across Main Street.

"It was just opened and discarded as (if) somebody was just walking down the street, opening the mail, throwing away what was no good and keeping what was good," Farmer said.

Farmer said he also noticed several mailboxes that were left open along his street.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said mail theft is common during the holidays. He said thieves are looking for anything of value, such as checks or credit card applications, to steal someone's identity. 

According to police, lockboxes are the best way to keep thieves out of your mailbox. 

To prevent mail theft, Smith suggests notifying the post office if you'll be out of town, or asking a neighbor to pick up your mail.

“Obviously, we’re going to keep a sharper eye on our mailbox, make sure we pull the mail in as soon as the mailman comes by," Farmer said. "That way, we can have it as fast as we possibly can.”

From now on, Farmer said, he and Bingo will be on the lookout for the mail thieves in their neighborhood. 

Atlantic Beach police said they are investigating the mail thefts.

Mail theft is a federal offense and could result in a $250 fine or three years in jail.

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