Authorities warning Chowchilla residents of mail thieves

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Madera County Sheriff's Office is warning residents to be on the look out for mail theft.

The department said they saw several cases in Chowchilla last month and one victim said he's now thinking twice before using his mailbox. Mailboxes are getting robbed and the MCSO said it's on ongoing problem in rural counties. The department is asking residents to keep a sharp eye on their mailboxes.

Chowchilla resident Lawrence Clark said it happened about a month ago while he was home. Through his surveillance camera, he said he saw a car drive up to his mailbox and someone looking inside to see what they can take and then just taking off.

"I was just disgusted," he said. "Had I not gone out to the mailbox I would been sick."

Clark said he wasn't the only one hit. After driving along Robertson Boulevard, he said he saw mailbox after mailbox open. He reported it to the sheriff's department who said this is an ongoing problem in the county.

"The problem is more in the rural areas where people still have mailboxes by the side of the road," Cdr. Bill Ward with the MCSO said. "It only takes a few seconds to grab mail out of there."

Ward said two Chowchilla residents were arrested after deputies found mail stolen from 25 different people in their car in July. Stolen mail can lead to bigger issues like identity theft and fraud.

"You don't know what they steal," Clark said. "Did they steal junk mail, did they take your credit card statements did they get personal information?"

Clark said he's fed up and no longer uses his mailbox. Instead, he now uses a P.O. box.

"It opens an envelope of concern and worry and stress," Clark said.

The department advises resident to not only keep an eye out for their mailbox, but also for their neighbors. They also recommend going to the post office to send mail.
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