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Police Suspect Thieves are Stealing from Neighborhood Mailboxes

Police say someone is breaking into mailboxes rummaging for cash and checks and tossing the rest out.
Benton Police are patrolling certain area neighborhoods looking for someone responsible for stealing mail from mailboxes.
Benton Police are patrolling certain area neighborhoods looking for someone responsible for stealing mail from mailboxes.
BENTON, AR - Benton Police say they've seen a rise in the amount of either stolen, missing or cases of mailboxes on entire streets looked through with only the things we don't want left behind.

This time of year it's the checks, giftcards or money the thieves are after.

"Everything was open," Dale Payne explained. "All the mailboxes on East Lakeview."

In neighborhoods scattered around Benton mail has littered the streets.

It's the time of year when postal services are at their busiest cramming our mailboxes full of Christmas cheer in the form of cards, sometimes with money inside.

"[Thieves] trying to see if there was anything in there they could get," Payne added.

Nearly every mail box on Payne's street in Benton was left open with mail thrown all over the place.

"People had items taken out of their mailboxes," said Lt. Kevin Russell, spokesperson for the Benton Police Department. "Usually we don't see these hardly at all."

Now though he has a stack of reports related to these crimes. In the past two weeks it's jumped. The increase credited to the holidays and the likelihood of checks and cash filling Christmas cards.

He says it's happening in the middle of the day when there's no one home.

Benton officers are now out on extra patrol watching the streets and your mailbox.

They suggest neighborhoods keep any eye on it as well.

Payne, a retired Air Force veteran, plans on it because if the person responsible is caught, the punishment won't be taken lightly.

Lt. Russell added, "And there could potentially be federal charges because it is a federal crime as well."
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