By Claire Harlin
A mail theft investigation has been ongoing in the Del Mar-Solana Beach area since April, confirmed a post office official on June 12.
“It’s really unusual for that area,” said Stacia Crane, a postal inspection service public information representative. Because the investigation is open, she said she could not divulge details about how many cases have been reported.
Signe Osteen of CalWest Management, who provides management services for about 400 homes in the Santa Fe Hills neighborhood in east Solana Beach, said she has received two calls from people who have experienced mail theft at their home. One woman, she said, reported that there had been a number of other victims besides her.
Crane recommended that residents don’t put outgoing mail in their mailbox and put the flag up.
“If you raise the flag, you are not only letting the mail carrier know there’s mail in there, but you are letting the thief know too,” Crane said, adding that people should have the post office hold mail while out of town.
She said often times the people who steal from mail boxes are connected with drug use.
“They take anything they can trade or sell quickly, and there’s usually a rash in one area,” Crane said. “Often they will trade for drugs and the person they trade with will turn around and steal the person’s identity.”
Crane suggested safeguarding financial information on bank statements and throwing away old credit cards. She also suggested putting a lock on the mailbox, and having blank checks mailed to the bank instead of the house for local pickup.
To report mail theft, call (877) 876-2455 or email http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.