A string of mailbox burglaries has left Tijeras residents with a lack of answers from the United States Postal Service.
The Independent reached out to USPS spokesperson Rod Spurgeon for information, and he referred the newspaper to the Postal Inspection Service, which he said investigates that kind of crime.
The Independent then reached out to the USPIS, and a formal inquiry was created, but no details were offered on the thefts or what residents should do about it.
Residents of the area say the cluster box has been hit a handful of times, but the Postal Service has not offered to re-key the box.
Mailboxes in Tijeras have been burglarized at least four times, said Peggy Moeller Mead, a resident of the area.
“My husband and I were going to town and I said, ‘Let’s go get the mail,’ just hoping there was a check in there for me so I could cash,” she said. “The mailbox where you put out mail was wide open. I tried to shove it back and it wouldn’t go.”
She and other residents have said the Postal Service has been unhelpful with trying to stop these burglaries.
According to Moeller Mead, the first burglary happened Aug. 3, with several more after that.
Jesse Rock, another resident, said he had a conversation with his mail carrier, and she told him the person burglarizing more than likely has a master key.
“Residents have posted pictures of the mailboxes being open, not the individual but the entire panel, and she explained because there is no physical damage that they must have a master key,” he said.
He also said the neighborhood suspects an inside job, because “USPS master keys aren’t exactly something you can get made at Home Depot.”
Another resident, M. Mittelstaedt, said USPS “doesn’t feel inclined” to re-key the locks and encourages residents to pick up their mail as close to the drop off time as possible. He also said he was told that even if a burglar were caught on camera, the police said that wouldn’t be enough for them to do anything.
Rock said a leaflet was sent to residents advising them to check their mail every day, because the burglaries were most likely happening late at night.
Catherine Kelley, also a resident, said the entire predicament is “curious.”
“Obviously, the person that was jimmying the whole door in whatever way,” she said, “was only interested in particular things because if they were interested in everything, they would have taken out or spilled out all the mail that existed when they opened it, and they did not. So, for me, this makes me suspicious that this is directed at either a particular person or a particular area.”
The residents also said they’ve talked about setting up cameras on the mailboxes to hopefully catch the burglar on video.
“All kinds of ‘solutions’ were floated,” Mittelstaedt said. “Critter cameras (low resolution without expensive night vision capability), motion detectors with lights/webcams (who is going to monitor such a web ‘feed?’), and the video won’t help get an arrest anyway. Several people reported that such cameras are often stolen.”
Mittelstaedt said overall, there is not much residents can do to stop the burglaries. “If the past is any indication, this is going to happen again,” he said.