DENVER (KDVR) — When Saul Cortes and his family returned from vacation they couldn’t believe what they saw on their security camera.
Surveillance video shared with FOX31 shows a woman approach the home on Aug. 3 at approximately 2 a.m. She checks to see if anyone is watching then lifts the mailbox cover, removes the mail then leaves.
“It is pretty sad and it’s pretty scary at the same time,” said Cortes, who will be adding more security cameras to his property.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service told said mail theft is carefully tracked and addressed.
“We vigorously investigate and work to prosecute through the U.S. Attorney’s office,” USPIS spokesperson Eric Manuel said.
The USPIS protects more than 32,000 mail facilities and monitors various types of criminal activity, including organized mail theft rings. Many crooks target mailboxes when checks are issued during tax season and most recently after the announcement of the dispersion of TABOR refund checks in Colorado.
“Certainly when there are new checks, government checks, whether state or federal, when they are sent through the mail,” Manuel said.
The USPIS encourages anyone who is a victim of mail theft to report the incident.
“Every report feeds into our database where we can identify those trends and patterns and potentially find one of those larger groups, find someone that’s maybe stealing a lot of checks,” Manuel said.
To protect against mail and identity theft, sign up to track your mail and if you notice mail hasn’t arrived when expected, contact the sender immediately. The USPIS provides tips for consumers.
Mail theft is a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.