Dozens of mailbox thefts this week in a southwest Bakersfield neighborhood have residents on high alert. They say thieves are stealing their mail to steal their identity.
The Bakersfield Postmaster said this week thieves have busted open dozens of mailboxes in the Silver Creek neighborhood.
"It's frustrating," said Carmen Carpio, a Silver Creek resident. "I picture what I would do to them if I would catch them."
Busted locks and dented doors, that's what this mother found this week at her mailbox.
"I woke up, took my son to school saw some mail on the floor thought wow okay someone was messy getting their mail, came back, took a better look and realized that all of these were open," said Carpio.
She soon realized she wasn't the only one targeted.
"It's happening on different street in this neighborhood on different nights," said Carpio. "It's not just a one time thing."
Silver Creek residents said thieves took gift cards, credit card statements and packages, anything that could get them money.
"I was pretty mad because I don't like to think that something like that would happen around here," said Mike Plotner, a Silver Creek resident. "It's really quiet. You can hear crickets and stuff like that. To hear something like that is pretty disturbing. I was pretty mad."
The Bakersfield Post Master said mailbox thefts happen more often during the holidays a disturbing thought to some.
"My house is right next to the mailbox and I am here sleeping at night just a few feet away from this happening and it just makes my skin crawl," said Carpio.
So much so Carpio stayed up late Thursday night to guard her mailbox.
"I was a little more alert and I did catch some teenagers parked here past 11 p.m. last night," said Carpio.
She's not sure if they were the thieves but you better believe she'll be watching.
"Let me tell you if I ever catch them it will not be good. It will not be good. I have the right to protect my home and family," said Carpio.
Right now those with broken mailboxes have to go to the post office to pick up their mail but the postmaster said their new boxes should be delivered next week.
There is an outstanding $10,000 reward by the U.S. Postal Inspector for anyone with information about mailbox thefts. The number to call is 877.876.2455.