Mail thieves hit southwest Reno community

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A thief is hitting mail boxes in southwest Reno, and yours could be next.

US Postal Service investigators are going to the Southwest Vistas, sticking notices in every unit, warning them of a recent mail theft.

"They're either looking for cash, checks, credit cards or banking or financial information," said Warren Heister, US Postal Service inspector.

Thieves will get their hands on that treasure any way they can. Three separate community mail boxes were pried open and damaged.

"We have no idea if my mail had been taken. There was no mail in my mailbox," said Keith Lockard, HOA president of Southwest Vistas.

The thieves possibly took off with their mail and their personal information. While mail theft is uncommon in Reno, each offense is serious. It is a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a fine.

Two mail boxes have been fixed and the third has been replaced entirely with a high security unit, but neighbors don't feel protected.

"I won't put my mail in the outgoing anymore, not for a while," said April Bento, a resident. "It looked like it was very easy for someone to break in and my concern is this one has been replaced and it looks just like the last one that was broken into."

The damage to the mail boxes has been fixed, but the damage to the neighborhood lingers.

"I've lived here for a very long time," said Bento. "It seemed like a safe neighborhood and now you're concerned about your house getting stolen, how about your house getting broken into too?"

Here are some helpful tips:

-Do not to leave your mail in the mailbox overnight.
-Deposit your mail at a Post Office or blue Postal Service collection box.
-If you see suspicious activity around your mailbox, call the police or Postal Inspection Service.

There is no available description of the thieves so far. The areas hit were Mesa Road, Marble Canyon Road and Peace Pipe Ct. If you have any information, call the Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455.