SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - It's a first class crime spree as mailbox break-ins appear to be sweeping the Central Valley, with Sacramento's Pocket area as the latest target.
Dozens of mailboxes have been hit, and it has gotten so bad in the Pocket area that federal agents held a community meeting Monday night asking for the neighbors help in finding the crooks.
"We had four boxes hit. Four cluster boxes hit on Jan. 9," Sacramento Resident Peter Finn said.
People are frustrated and desperate.
"[On] all 16 of them, a guy popped the lock and took them all out," said another citizen.
It was standing room only in a Pocket area library as neighbors were looking for answers from the police and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
"They're looking for personal checks, business checks and tax season is around the corner," a U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesperson said.
Some are victims of not only mail theft, but identity theft.
It has turned into a crime epidemic. Recently, Natomas was severely hit by vandals and thieves. Cluster boxes were smashed and stole the mail inside, which left homeowners feeling hopeless. Some mail boxes were nearly ripped from the ground.
It appears to be sweeping the Central Valley, and not just at night but in broad daylight.
Fairfield surveillance video shows alleged thieves driving right up to a mailbox, snatching letters and speeding away. Some arrests have been made in other areas, but nothing yet for the Pocket capers.
"I think what's promising is seeing the various agencies coming together," said one resident.
Monday's meeting was about empowerment, being proactive, hopefully getting solutions from the feds and police, and protecting citizens' mail from heartless thieves.
"Hopefully they'll be incarcerating the individuals responsible," said Finn.
The feds offered crime prevention tips; get your mail as soon as it arrives, and if you have something valuable, take it to the post office instead of putting it in the mailbox.
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