U.S Postal Inspector Wendy Boles say vandals targeting mail collection boxes at post offices is an uncommon crime of opportunity.

“These attacks are rare,” Boles said. “They're usually in well-lit areas. They’re at our post offices or businesses. They’re in secure areas so this is unique.”

Boles says at least 14 collection boxes were damaged from September 28 to October 3.  She says vandals tried to break inside and were successful with about eight of those 14 boxes.

“We did confirm some mail was stolen. It is an ongoing investigation so we can't really talk about that,” Boles said.

Rossville, GA, Dalton, GA, Rocky Face, GA, Chattanooga, TN, Mt. Juliet, TN, LaVergne, TN, Brentwood, TN, Franklin, TN, Nolensville, TN, Murfreesboro, TN and Knoxville, TN all had reports of boxes either attempted or actually broken in to. Investigators believe the incidents may be connected. We’re told more than one person could be involved.

“This does not appear random. It appears that the individual or individuals are probably working together,” Boles explained. “They appear to be traveling.”

Mail from the boxes are collected at set times. Postal staff are trained to inspect them almost daily and immediately report any issues. Still, officials are urging customers be more cautious when leaving mail behind.

“You wanna place your mail in there close to when you letter carrier comes by,” Boles said.

As investigators work to find whoever is behind the vandals, they insist the U.S Postal Service is one of the most secure means of transmitting personal information.

"Every day, the US Postal Service safely and efficiently delivers millions of checks, money orders, credit cards, and merchandise.  Unfortunately, such items are also attractive to thieves.  That’s why Postal Inspectors across the country are at work to protect the mail," Boles said. 

If customers believe their mail was stolen, report it immediately by submitting an online complaint here or calling 877-876-2455.  Boles says the input may help inspectors locate and apprehend the thieves.

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