Local postal thefts attract federal agents
A series of local thefts from mailboxes on rural postal routes has recently drawn the attention of law enforcement, going as far as necessitating that the federal government become involved.
Officials from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to the thefts late last month and are currently working with investigators from Summit County and the U.S. Postal Service to find the culprits.
The ongoing investigation related to the thefts spans multiple jurisdictions, as Grand County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lieutenant Dan Mayer explained most of the thefts have occurred in Summit County with a few instances in Grand County, largely centered around the Kremmling area.
“They have been coming up from the south to Kremmling, hitting the Spring Creek and Blue Valley Ranch areas,” Mayer said. “We think it is probably the same people.”
Mayer noted that mail theft is a federal offense and has drawn in postal inspectors who are looking to bring federal charges against those responsible. While mail theft carries relatively minor penalties at the state level, law enforcement typically is more concerned with the potential for follow-up crimes such as criminal impersonation, fraud or identity theft.
The thefts have largely impacted rural home owners associations that utilize freestanding mailboxes. The thefts, however, have not occurred in such associations that employ locked mailbox setups.
County investigators have thus far identified around half-a-dozen instances in Grand County they believe are tied to the string of postal thefts but, due to the nature of the crime, officials believe there may be other victims who either did not contact law enforcement or have yet to realize any of their mail was stolen.
In one instance, Mayer explained, a citizen of Grand County had a new credit card stolen from their mailbox. The thief later attempted — unsuccessfully — to use the card in Summit County
“The sad part is you could have something coming to you that you don’t know about, like a new credit card,” Mayer said. “You don’t know it is coming, you don’t know it is delivered and you don’t know it was stolen. All of a sudden you are trying to buy something and your card won’t work.”
Most Grand County citizens receive their mail at post office boxes at various post offices throughout the county. As such, most citizens have not been impacted by the thefts, though the rural routes with unlocked boxes remain a point of concern.
Mayer compared the current string of postal thefts to one that occurred in the Grand Lake area last year, which were tied to a suspect in the Grand Junction area. Though those instances are believed to be unrelated, as Mayer explained.
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