BREMERTON -- Bremerton police recovered a pile of mail this weekend. It included more than 500 cards, letters and bills that had been stolen from about 150 different homes and businesses.
“Almost all the mail’s been opened and checked. We can tell that credit cards and ATM cards have been taken,” Bremerton Police Chief Steven Strachan said Tuesday.
"That’s horrible,” Nicci Hughes said, when she heard about the crime. “That’s people’s gifts, bills. It’s their life.”
“It’s just sickening how people can get into your stuff like that,” added Kevin Vergason. “It’s your property, not theirs.”
The mail was found by a homeowner in a remote area on the outskirts of Bremerton. But it doesn’t look like that’s the only area the thief hit.
“No pun intended, but this sort of got dumped on us,” said Strachan. “Most of the addresses are in Pierce County and Mason County. We happen to be between the two of them.”
Many of the addresses were in rural areas. Police say residents there are vulnerable because mailboxes are often far from their homes. He says they should think about getting locking mailboxes to prevent crimes like this.
“People shouldn’t have to do that, but there’s too much mail theft regionally and nationally, we’re seeing more of this.”
Police say residents should let them know if they see anyone suspicious hanging around mailboxes. Even though the mail in this case was stolen after it had been delivered, they say people should be cautious with their outgoing mail, too.
“I always go to the post office,” says Vergason. “I don’t use my own mailbox. I trust my neighbors. But beyond that, you don’t know who’s walking around.”
Police are working with postal inspectors to solve this case. They’re looking for fingerprints on the mail, and checking where stolen credit cards may have been used. They understand how serious a crime this is.
“It’s really violating when someone goes through someone’s mail. It’s not just the property, it’s the violation.”