SEATAC, Wash. -- The King County Sheriff’s Office say mail and identity theft is a growing problem in the county. One man in SeaTac was even shot at overnight Sunday while trying to get his mail back.
“They got out, screamed some profanities and I tried to get their license plate number. I followed them down the street and he pulled over and he shot at me,” said the homeowner who did not want to be identified. “I crouched down. And just trying to be aware. No one wants to lose their life over mail.”
The man was not hit by the shot, nor was his property. He said the shot fired was an unexpected, terrifying moment after he tried to chase thieves who stole his mail. Other people in his neighborhood in SeaTac locked up their mailboxes, worried the same thing could happen to them.
“We’ve been losing a lot of mail. My neighbor has been, I have been. We’re all changing our mailboxes to locked mailboxes. It’s just safer,” said the homeowner. “We’ve all been on edge because sometimes there’s important stuff coming through the mail.”
He was expecting some important paperwork. So, when he saw a man and woman rummaging through his mailbox, he confronted them.
Instead of approaching the crooks, Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the King County Sheriff’s Office advises people to get as many descriptive details to officers immediately.
“Any crime at all, we really tell people don’t get yourself in harm’s way. It’s not worth your life and it’s not worth getting hurt over a simple crime. Just call 911. That’s what we’re here for,” said Abbott.
The King County Sheriff’s Office said mail thieves are looking for credit card offers, checks, gift cards—anything they can steal someone’s identity from for money.
“It’s not just one mailbox, they’ll have upwards of 200 pieces of mail from 30 different houses or something. So, they hit a large area at one time,” said Abbott.
The homeowner said thieves drove off in a vehicle that looked like a white U-Haul van with no taillights. He ordered a new, locked mailbox to prevent theft from happening again.
“They ripped the door off. It’s old and I should have replaced it, but still they shouldn’t damage and take people’s mail,” said the homeowner. “They should go get a job. Go get a job.”
If anyone is suspicious about mail thefts or any other crime, Abbott advises people to get a license plate, a good description of the suspects and the vehicle. He said the more details, the more helpful it is to investigators in tracking down suspects.