Signed, sealed but not delivered – mail for people living off Koval Ln. in Orcutt was taken over the weekend, leaving people like Monica Loats now concerned for what could have been lost.
She was a victim of identity theft once before.
“My Social Security number was stolen about five years ago and somebody filed my tax return so when I filed my tax return, I could file it but they had to investigate it and they tried to file it five separate times, so I didn’t get my return until November or December,” Loats said.
It’s unknown who’s responsible for these thefts – a federal offense – but the U.S. Postal Service says there’s a chance they could be back for more.
“You’re looking at people who are trying to get something quick so if they see something out, they’re just trying to get it quickly and move down the street. If there’s a purse in the front seat of your car, someone’s probably going to break in and steal it versus if it’s not there, they’re probably not going to break into your car,” explained Stacia Crane, Public Information Officer for the Postal Inspection Service.
Informed Delivery is a free service offered by the U.S. Postal Service that allows you to digitally preview what’s coming in your mailbox and track packages.
The Postal Inspection Service also suggests getting a P.O. box or installing surveillance cameras to monitor activity near your mailbox.
But that doesn’t bring much comfort to people like Loats.
“I work full time and I can’t make it to the post office to get my mail so now it’s going to sit there for two weeks until I can get there,” Loats said.
The post office only has one mailbox mechanic, so Loats’ box may be in disrepair for several days.
“You can’t keep a whole staff of people waiting just in case they need to go out and fix something,” Crane said.
Mailboxes like these were also broken into in Nipomo over the weekend.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office says these crimes are hard to track down if a vehicle has not been spotted close to where the crime was committed.
Anyone with information on either of these break-ins is asked to call law enforcement.
If you are found guilty of stealing mail, you could face up to five years in jail.