Reports of stolen mail are sky rocketing in the Yakima Valley
YAKIMA, Wash.- Deputies at the Yakima County Sheriff's Office say this year has reached an all time high for packages being stolen.
"The numbers that we are seeing are far higher than numbers we've ever seen in any previous year regarding mail theft," said Detective Sergeant Mike Russell.
This month they have arrested several people for mail theft, and today they nabbed three more. Early this morning Yakima Deputies and officers from the Selah Police Department responded to a mail theft in progress on E. Gleed Rd. in Yakima.
They searched the car and found multiple pieces of mail with names of the neighbors in the area, and later found out the car had been reported stolen. Authorities believe this isn't the first neighborhood they've hit.
"Typically they aren't just working in one area, they go wherever they think they can steal mail. So the distance they cover can actually encompass quite a bit of land. It would not surprise me at all if these people had been involved in the stealing of mail from other locations, but of course at this point we just don't have any evidence," said Russell.
If a person takes more than ten pieces of mail from at least three people, it turns into a felony crime. In Washington you can be sentenced to prison for more than a year.
"The message we want to send to the mail thieves is if this is the way you want to behave, we are going to do what we can to lock you up for the Christmas season," said Russell.
Authorities from both departments urge the community to think ahead when packages are coming to your house.
"When you have a package that's coming, and you know it's coming, talk to your neighbors. See if they can watch that package, or maybe pick that package up," said Missy Maki, Community Services Specialist at the Selah Police Department.
They also added if you see something suspicious, call and report it.
"The citizen that called in this case is a prime example of what a person should do. Keep your eyes open and call in," said Russell.
All three suspects are booked in Yakima County Jail for mail theft and other misdemeanor charges.