Mailbox break-ins prompt fears of identity theft

FRESNO, Calif.

About 40 homes in the area get their mail from three community mailboxes. Tuesday, those boxes were found wide open. Residents immediately notified the post office and Fresno Police. By mid-afternoon, the mailboxes had been secured. "I told them I was really concerned because some of the boxes are empty. But some of the mail was there," said resident Colleen Alexander.

With no way of knowing exactly what was taken from inside the boxes, neighbors are now concerned about the possibility of identity theft. It's something Philip Gentile has already dealt with before. His mail ended up in the wrong hands about ten years ago, when he lived in another nearby neighborhood. "Stuff even showed up months later. Someone opened an account at a move theater and had taken out all kinds of stuff. I had no idea what it was about. Yeah, it's happened before, so hopefully they didn't get anything today," said Gentile.

Neighbors said the same mailboxes vandalized over the holiday weekend were also hit before. Because of that, several residents no longer take any chances. They promptly retrieve their mail as soon as they can or pay bills online. Others take their outgoing mail to the post office. "We take mostly our stuff to the post office. We believe it's better and it's faster. I'd rather not have my stuff sitting here," said Kayla Monsma.

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