Surveillance cameras catch mailbox thief in action

US Postal Service reports 10-15 local break-ins weekly

By Myra Arthur - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Management of a Northwest Side apartment complex hopes someone recognizes a man caught on camera breaking into community mailboxes early Sunday morning.

The man targeted 68 mailboxes at the Honey Hill Apartments at 5011 Glen Ridge Drive, not far from Loop 410 and Evers Road.

Cameras show the man making off with an armful of mail, but not before he tore down what he likely thought was a surveillance camera.

But it turned out to be a fake.

“The purpose was to be a distraction,” said apartment manager Trenton Campbell. “And it was a distraction because the man came up here, reached up, pulled it down and broke it.”

Management thought to install a fake camera because Sunday was far from the first time the apartments have been targeted.

Mailboxes have been broken into at least five times since October 2015.

“This is ridiculous,” said Margaret, a tenant who picked up her mail Tuesday. “Why do people do that?”

“Identity theft is scary. It can be lifelong-lasting for certain people,” Campbell said.

The local office of the U.S. Postal Service has seen an increase in mailbox break-ins this year in San Antonio.

Postal Inspector Michael Martinez said mailbox break-ins usually increase as people begin receiving tax returns in the mail, but the numbers never dropped off after the 2016 tax season.

Most of the thefts are happening in the northern part of the city, but not in one concentrated area.

The U.S. Postal Service is getting reports of 10 to 15 local break-ins a week.

Martinez said the best way to try to prevent becoming a victim of mailbox theft is to check your mail.

Don’t leave mail in your mailbox overnight, when most of these thefts occur, Martinez said.

Honey Hill tenants have to drive to a local post office to pick up their mail until their mailboxes can repaired.

“Not to mention they don't know what's been taken,” Campbell said. “They don't know what they received or what they're going to receive.”

“If you need some money, go to work,” Margaret said. “Not just go pick up somebody else's property.”

Honey Hill Apartments management is offering a $2,000 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for Sunday’s break-in. Anyone with information is asked to call 210-681-7711.

The U.S. Postal Service also offers up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction in any mailbox theft case.

To share tips or report a mailbox break-in, call the Postal Service at 1-877-876-2455. 

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