ORANGE, CT (WFSB) – The Orange Police Department is warning residents of mail being stolen form mailboxes.
The department said there have been a few complaints in the past weeks regarding outgoing mail being stolen from curbside mailboxes.
Each complainant left the flap up to notify the mail carrier of the outgoing mail.
Orange police said the complainants were alerted to the thefts after personal checks to utilities, etc. were “washed” and cashed by the thieves for several thousand dollars.
"Those aren't usually realized until the individuals check their bank statements and they see a rather large deduction when it should have been a check to a utility or other for a few hundred dollars," said Assistant Chief Max Martins, Orange Police Department.
Orange police say in prior years, they had issues with thieves stealing mail right form the collection boxes outside the Post Office.
They put a stop to that when the Postal Service installed newer boxes that thieves couldn’t get into. Now, they’re hitting neighborhoods and swiping mail, specifically checks, right out of personal mailboxes.
So, how can you protect yourself. Orange Assistant Police Chief Max Martins says there are a number of tips.
"Don't use the flag at all, that is just kind of a warning sign, look at me, I have something inside," Martins said.
The Postal Service says if you're going to leave mail in your mailbox, make sure the door closes so it's not open and inviting a thief.
Also, get a sense of when your mail typically comes, so you can put it out there shortly before it's likely to get picked up.
Martins says your best bet is to head right to your Post Office.
"Safest thing to do since there have been cases of theft from mailboxes even outside Post Offices, is to actually hand it directly to the mail carrier or put it inside one of the Post Office boxes inside the actual establishment," Martins said.
The investigation is ongoing. Police say they're looking to see if anyone have surveillance video that might have captured any cars pulling up to the mailboxes.