Southwest Anchorage mail theft caught on camera
With tax season fast approaching, authorities are warning Alaskans to take extra caution. If you don't check your mail daily, police say you are running the risk of someone else doing it for you.
The Alaska Postal Inspection Service gets reports of mail theft daily, according to staff, and say the problem is getting worse in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.
Just last week, a KTVA viewer caught a thief on camera. The footage shows a mailman delivering a package to their home in southwest Anchorage. Then, a car backs into their driveway, a woman gets out, grabs the package from the front door and takes off.
Police say it helps when they have a clear picture of what happened.
“This is a problem nationwide. It’s happening everywhere,” Anchorage Police spokesperson, MJ Thim, said. “You want to call us first and say, 'hey this person has stolen my mail or I know such and such has stolen my mail, here's the information.' That way we can start working on that and track that criminal down. You always want to follow up with the US Postal Inspector’s Office. They've got to be in the loop immediately, as well.”
Mail theft is a federal offense that postal inspectors say becomes an even bigger issue during tax season.
“People are definitely looking for things going through the mail that might have personal information like their tax information that could have identifiers on there,” postal inspector Alan Damron said.
Authorities suggest you purchase a secure, locked mailbox, check your mail as soon as possible after it gets delivered-- and, if you plan to be away for an extended period of time, consider placing a hold on your mail or renting a post office box.
“The most important thing is that customers report this because if we don't know then we can't see trends that are happening or certain areas that have been hit,” Damron said.
According to US code, mail theft is punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine up to a $250,000.
Watch the RAW surveillance video of the theft below:
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