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Community mailboxes were broken into in Arroyo Grande, causing thousands in damage

Mailbox break-in
Posted at 7:56 PM, Jun 30, 2023

Officers responded to a mailbox break-in June 24 on Rodeo Drive in Arroyo Grande and found that multiple mailboxes along Emerald, Chaparral, Mesquite and Spanish Moss lanes had all been broken into as well.

There are currently no leads and no one is in custody for the mailbox break-ins, authorities said. Police are asking anyone with video surveillance footage in the area to come forward and share it with them.

“It’s definitely typical that mail theft is in an effort to find items of value, checks that are being mailed out or received, cash, or things that could be used for identity theft," Commander David Culver of the Arroyo Grande Police Department said.

Commander Culver said of the 30 people whose mailboxes were broken into, all had been community boxes.

"The police came immediately Sunday morning and we're just waiting for the mailboxes to get fixed now," said Joyce Sanchez, Arroyo Grande resident. "We can't get our mail. We have to go to the post office to pick it up."

After vandalizing the mailboxes, police say the thieves left behind what they didn't find to be of any value.

“During the investigation, the officers also located a box in the Village Glen [Drive] area that had a large amount of mail in it that they were able to recover," Culver added. "That mail — because of the time of day — was collected and returned to the post office so that it could be redistributed because it couldn’t be secured back in the mailboxes because of the boxes.”

Until mailboxes are fixed, residents are picking up their mail from the post office themselves.

“All of those mailboxes are owned by the United States Postal Service, and it’s estimated that that damage could be upwards of $2,000," Culver explained.

We received conflicting information about who is responsible for replacing the mailboxes. While police said it falls on the U.S. Postal Service, a resident we spoke with said that's not the case — they're the ones on the hook for the new boxes. The residents have already spent thousands of dollars purchasing the replacements.

On Tuesday, July 18, a manager with USPS told KSBY that the postal service does not own the mailboxes.

USPS offers a service on its website called Informed Delivery, where you can sign up to receive notifications showing what is being delivered to your mailbox.