Posted at: 03/15/2013 7:38 PM
Updated at: 03/16/2013 10:40 AM
By: Lynette Adams
Imagine this: you walk outside to get your mail and see a stranger already sifting through it. It happened to one resident in a Pittsford neighborhood.
So what can you do if it happens to you? News10NBC's Lynette Adams went out to get answers from postal service officials and law enforcement.
They tell News10NBC the best thing you can do is to immediately report it to police. That's what Beth Deehan did and that brought police in on this, which put others on alert in the neighborhood.
She says, "He only would stop at houses with flag up to get the outgoing mail."
Deehan was waiting for her children to come home from school one afternoon in February, when she noticed a car drive up to her mailbox. She says a man got out of his car, and rifled through her mail. When she ran out of the house to confront him, Deehan says he tossed a bunch of papers at her and took off. Those papers turned out to be mail from eight other houses in the area including checks for bills, cards and other letters.
She says she was shocked. Deehan couldn't believe someone was going through mailboxes and opening the mail. She called 911 and reported the incident. A week later she says the car came back and the same man went right to two mailboxes that had flags up.
Those are the only mailboxes she noticed him go to. She also says she noticed the car because little traffic comes to her cul-de-sac. When she approached the car, Deehan says the driver made a face and drove off.
"It was completely weird the first time, when I realized what it was middle of the day a lot of action out there," says Deehan. "Plus it's completely disturbing that someone would be taking your personal mail."
The Sheriff's Office tells News10NBC that this is not a common crime, but the postal service have tips to keep your mail safe.
They say you should promptly remove your mail from your mailbox, especially if you're expecting checks. If you can't be there ask a neighbor or friend to get your mail. Never send cash or coin through the mail. Instead use checks or money orders.
You should also have the post office hold your mail if you're going to be away for a long period of time. If you don't receive a check or other valuable item you're expecting, then you should contact the issuing agency or person immediately. And always deposit your mail at the post office.