Neighbors in Yulee fear someone is stealing their mail

Dean Paukune says his mailbox has been empty for more than a week

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YULEE, Fla. – It’s no secret that porch piracy is a major concern heading into the holidays. But residents in a Nassau County neighborhood fear someone is taking things a step further and stealing their mail.

Dean Paukune told News4Jax that he and several of his neighbors who live along Harts Road in Yulee are worried because they have gone without mail for more than a week. Not even a piece of junk mail.

“Somebody is grabbing the mail, throwing it in the car and leaving the box open, so they’re going as fast as they can,” said Paukune, adding that it appears those with long driveways are being targeted.

“The ones that were not open yesterday were the houses closes to the road. Any houses with mailboxes far from the road, like mine, were open.”

The thefts have some residents taking matters into their own hands. One of Paukune’s neighbors got so fed up that she went out and set up a PO Box to have her mail delivered there instead.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper wasn’t surprised to hear about the complaints. After all, his office has taken calls about stolen mail, and people tend to send cash to loved ones for the holidays.

Leeper encouraged neighbors to keep tabs on their mailboxes, especially if they’re expecting valuables. He said those who go out of town should have their neighbors collect their mail for them.

“Check it regularly,” he said. “Don’t leave mail out overnight. A lot of these incidents, people come at nighttime when no one’s around... It’s just like they do car doors to look for anything of value.”

Paukune said it’s a shame his neighbors even have to worry about this over the holidays. While he doesn’t miss his junk mail, he worries that thieves could end up stealing a child’s Christmas gift.

“You’re potentially ruining the kid’s Christmas,” he said.

One option available residents is the U.S. Postal Service’s informed delivery feature. It notifies you daily about what mail is scheduled to arrive, and it is currently available for homes with a Yulee ZIP code.

It’s a federal offense to steal someone else’s mail. If your mail is missing and you suspect someone took it, you should call the Postal Inspector at (877) 876-2455 to report it stolen.

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