Rural mailbox theft being investigated

Lynn Brown was more than a little shocked when she went to the end of her driveway to pick up her mail last week.

Lynn Brown was more than a little shocked when she went to the end of her driveway to pick up her mail last week and discovered one of the group mailboxes had disappeared.

“There were two of them sitting there and one was gone,” she said.

Brown, who lives south of Hwy. 53 on Hwy. 771, immediately phoned Canada Post who confirmed the mailboxes had been stolen.

“They told me we would have to come into town to get our mail,” she said.

The theft has left Brown feeling frightened and worried.

She said she is fearful thieves are looking for social insurance numbers which may be on federal documents or bank account numbers which are on bank statements.

“People need to be vigilant,” she said.

Sgt. Mark Groves from the Rimbey RCMP said the police are working with the Canada Post Investigation Unit to solve these crimes and one person has been charged and is now behind bars.

Curtis Patton, 26, from Rimbey has been charged with seven counts of possession of mail belonging to seven Rimbey and area residents after stolen mail was seized from three separate people at a residence in Rimbey.

“There has been a rash of these (mail thefts) all over Central Alberta. “We’ve had dozens of complaints. Sylvan Lake was also hit hard.”

Groves said the RCMP continue to work with the local Rimbey and District Rural Crime Watch and Gull Lake North Citizens on Patrol partners to solve these crimes.

Eugene Knapik, spokesperson for Canada Post confirmed several rural mailboxes have been tampered with in the Rimbey area.

“There has been criminal activity and vandals have attacked our street furniture.”

Knapik said it is difficult to ascertain what mail has been stolen because no one knows what mail was in the mailboxes when they were taken.

He said Canada Post is doing everything it can to support the police in their investigation.

He encourages the public to pick up their mail every day and to report any suspicious activity to the police.

Sgt. Groves said that traditionally, mail theft will net an 18-month jail term.

This year, Rimbey Detachment made mail theft one of our Strategic Priorities on our Annual Performance Plan for 2015.