Neighborhood deals with numerous cases of mailbox vandalism

Outgoing mail slots bent out of shape; neighbors worry about security of mail

SAN ANTONIO – About a week ago, Philip Smisek noticed one of the outgoing mail slots on his set of mailboxes was bent, so he fixed it.

"Next morning, this whole door was busted open," he said of the next cluster of mailboxes over, which included his own. "Everybody's stuff was completely cleaned out."

Smisek's mailbox on Farber Dale was one of several that have been damaged recently in the Steubing Ranch area. The coordinator of the local Citizens on Patrol said about 10 locations have been damaged since June 1. A KSAT 12 News crew found four damaged mailboxes during a drive through the neighborhood Friday morning.

Each of the locations KSAT found had at least one outgoing mail slot bent out of shape, an indication that thieves might have gained access to the whole cluster of mailboxes, as Smisek said they had done to his.

While Smisek’s slot is still bent out of shape, it was locked Friday morning, and the post office has continued to deliver.

A U.S. Postal Service spokesman said all four locations KSAT found damaged had work orders on them. Despite the damage, the postal inspector had recent reports of mail theft for three of the four locations.

Smisek's location had a single report from August. Another theft on Bethel Bend was reported in May. On Darien Wing, there were two reports in June.

Kay Kloster, who uses the Darien Wing boxes, worries what a thief might be able to grab from the busted outgoing slot there.

"They'll check on our bank accounts. They get cards for birthdays. Money, that's about it," she said.

Kloster said she either drops her mail into one of the intact slots or goes to the post office for more sensitive mail.

It's a tactic Smisek also uses. Meanwhile, he's watching his bank statements in case thieves snag something valuable.

"It kind of bothers you," Smisek said. "Makes you worried someone's going to try do something against you."

Anyone who sees mail theft or suspicious activity near mailboxes can report it to postal inspectors by calling 877-876-2455 or by visiting postalinspectors.us.pis.gov.

People who are affected will need to talk to their local post office workers to get the mailboxes repaired.

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