Thieves targeting mail in collection boxes

PROSPECT — The town has seen a recent spike in mail thefts from U.S. Postal Service collection boxes.

Prospect Resident State Trooper Timothy Van Deventer said mail has been stolen from the large blue U.S. Postal Service collection boxes throughout town. He said the thefts have occurred at night over the past few weeks in multiple locations.

Police said the thieves are searching for checks in the mail to steal and alter for personal gain.

The thefts have been isolated to the collection boxes in town, Van Deventer said, and residential mailboxes hadn’t been targeted.

Similar thefts have occurred in the surrounding area and across the state.

Naugatuck Deputy Police Chief C. Colin McAllister said the department identified three cases as of last week that are consistent with mail being taken from collection boxes. He said the department is consolidating the cases and looking to work with other agencies to investigate the thefts.

“We are aware of similar incidents in other jurisdictions and will be coordinating with our regional agencies as well as the U.S. Postal Inspector,” McAllister said.

Beacon Falls Resident State Trooper Humberto Henriques and Beacon Falls Lt. Eddie Rodriguez could not be reached for comment.

Police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service offered some tips for people to reduce the risk of having their mail stolen. They suggest people bring mail inside a post office to ensure that it is securely delivered; drop their mail into the collection boxes before the last pick-up time; never send cash or coins in the mail; use money orders or secure checks from a bank that are more difficult to alter.

Van Deventer advised people to also be aware of collection boxes that have a string hanging out of them, as this is one way thieves access the boxes.

Anyone who is the victim of a theft can visit USPIS.gov to file a complaint.