Contact 17: Thieves stealing mail from northeast Bakersfield neighborhood

How secure is your mailbox? A woman in northeast Bakersfield called 17 News and said thieves are stealing mail and trashing her neighborhood.

BAKERSFIELD - How secure is your mailbox? A woman in northeast Bakersfield called 17 News and said thieves are stealing mail and trashing her neighborhood. She lives near Panorama and Alta Vista Drives.

"I noticed that a Netflix DVD was missing that I had put in the night before," said Stephanie Camarena.

When a DVD disappeared from Stephanie Camarena's mailbox, she didn't think much of it until a recent morning jog. "I noticed everyone's mailbox around the neighborhood was open and there was a trail of mail in the street," she continued.

Camarena took cell phone video of open mailboxes and scattered letters in the street. "As this person is going along, he's opening them on the spot," she explained.

Jim Eckelhoff found an open letter in front of his home with someone's personal financial information. "It was someone's bank statement and they live on North Inyo Street. So that's like a block and a half or more away," he said.

Eckelhoff found a Sheriff's deputy while trying to track down the recipient. "He says, I live two or three blocks from here. We've had it happen at my house too. It's just common to the neighborhood," explained Eckelhoff. "He said a lot of times these people who are taking bottles and cans, they find something in your mailbox that's important, with some type of information on it. They'll sell it for just like a buck or two bucks or something."

"Obviously, it's quite alarming. Whoever is going through these mailboxes is held accountable for that. With identity theft being high, we're all concerned. We don't want to be victims," noted Craig Davidson.

There are steps you can take to keep from becoming a victim. The local postmaster said pick up your mail every afternoon and don't leave anything in your mailbox overnight. She also said don't leave any outgoing mail in your box unless you see the postman in your neighborhood. She also recommends people buy a locking mailbox at a hardware store.

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