Something is missing at the Waipahu post office and now the search is on for thieves who made off with the blue mailbox and the mail inside.
All that’s left on the sidewalk are holes and broken bolts.
The U.S. Postal Service is offering a reward of $10,000 for the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for this crime.
KHON2 checked to see how often things like this are happening in the islands and what you can do to protect your mail.
The blue mail collection boxes are convenient, but are they safe to use?
“They usually are, but as we’ve seen, thieves will go to great lengths to steal from the Postal Service,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Brian Shaughnessy.
The U.S. Postal Service launched a federal investigation to find the thieves who took the collection box from the Waipahu post office.
“If it’s very important mail, I would be very mad if my mail got stolen from the post office mail,” said Waipahu resident Devena Kim-Jacalne.
According to Shaughnessy, the collection box went missing some time after 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, and 6 a.m. Sept. 1.
Shaughnessy assured KHON2 that steps were being taken to resolve the issue.
“The Postal Service is constantly evaluating trends and vulnerabilities and working to improve the security of the mail and also of the collection boxes. Several of these boxes have been relocated due to repeated instances of vandalism in recent months,” he said.
Officials couldn’t say how many cases of vandalism there have been recently, but they did confirm that there have been four collection boxes stolen on Oahu in the last 18 months, all in central and west Oahu. No arrests have been made in those cases.
“Mail theft is one the biggest challenges the postal service faces in Hawaii,” according to Shaughnessy. “Acquiring stolen mail can be very appealing to a lot of drug addicts. A drug user might be paid $40 or $50 for a bag of stolen mail or the mail can then be exchanged for a small amounts of methamphetamine or heroin.”
Officials say that the person who steals mail may not be the same person who cashes stolen checks or uses stolen cards. Shaughnessy said that mail theft cases often have many defendants.
Mail theft is a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.