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Cameras help catch mail thieves

Cheap, high quality surveillance more common
Posted at 7:27 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 22:30:28-04

TUCSON, Ariz . - Mail thieves never let up. Some of them hit the Sewell neighborhood -- just east of Tucson's midtown.

But modern cameras, and communication offer more hope of catching the crooks.

When Karla realized someone cleaned out her mailbox and hit her neighbors too, she put out the word on the NextDoor app and checked her surveillance recordings...

Sure enough about 7:30 Wednesday night, there was a car going mailbox to mailbox picking up everything from junk mail to the info thieves need for identity theft.

Now that cheap, high quality cameras are just about everywhere that's made life a lot harder for mail thieves but easier for law enforcement.

New products like video doorbells catch images of thieves scampering off with packages.

For U.S. Postal Inspector Dan Grossenbach it lends a whole new meaning to “see you in court”.

"It's everywhere now and it wasn't that way just five years ago. Technology, the lower cost of video, the prevalence of on-line presence, social media all pave the way for a much better way to identify our bad guys."

And he says when mail thieves understand their crime will be seen in court they often plead guilty and save us all the expense of a trial.

Karla had another safeguard: what the Postal Service calls "Informed Delivery". She had a preview of the mail she should have received so she was able to call the right credit card companies and make sure thieves didn't take out cards in her name.

Traditional safeguards still mean a lot too, like getting your mail as soon as it arrives.

Sewell neighborhood resident Mike Giachetti knows the less time your mail's in the box, the better.

“Yeah, just typically take my email down to the post office. If I see the postman come I go out and get the mail. Or when I get home, I get the mail, you know, but haven't had a major issues myself. But you always got to be vigilant."