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Caught On Tape: Mail Thieves Target The Hollywood Hills

NORTH HOLLYWOOD  (CBS) — Two men, working in tandem, are apparently stealing mail in the Hollywood Hills.

And at least one homeowner has caught the brazen thieves on camera. Twice! Neighbors say they have lost valuable checks and other items.

Rachel Kim, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, spoke to fed-up residents.

Fritz Feick, theft victim says,  "[You can see them] hitting every single mailbox on the street."

One resident in the Laurel Canyon community caught the two smooth criminals stealing mail in the last week alone.

Says Rudy, "It's incredible how comfortable they are."

Rudy didn't want his last name used. But it was his surveillance video that caught the thief stealing from Feick's mailbox between 2 and 3 a.m.

It's hard to say how long the thieves have been operating or if they have targeted other areas. Says Feick, "A check that was sent to me hasn't arrived --  it was mailed in December. So that's just one of a number of things that have not arrived."

On the first day of surveillance, Feick and Rudy say the thief brought a briefcase full of letters and packages.

He then checks to see which mailboxes are open. Adds Feick, "Then he goes into his car, checking the mail with his associate and then putting the mail back inside the mailboxes so not to draw attention."

The same thing happens on the second day, says Feick. But this time there is no briefcase and they use a different car.

Feick says he was shocked to see someone "so brazenly" going through all the mailboxes.

Rudy and Feick reported the thefts and the Post Office told them an investigation is underway. In the meantime, the two residents want their neighbors to remain vigilant.

Rudy is telling his neighbors to "Get new mailboxes, get locks on old boxes, watch out!"

In the interim, Rachel Kim offered some advice for people worried about mail theft.

• Hand your mail to the carrier instead of leaving it in your mailbox.
• If you're going out of town, have the post office hold your mail.
• Ask your bank for secure checks that cannot be altered.

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