McLean County Sheriff’s Office has received reports of a spree of periodic mail tampering and theft.

“Basically, we have had an unknown person, or persons, specifically in the Beech Grove area that have been getting into mailboxes (and) taking mail,” said Deputy Jeff Payne, case manager.

Payne said it also appears to be happening in other counties in the state, due to mail that has been brought into and dropped off in McLean County.

“We’ve had mail from other counties in our counties,” he said. “We also know it’s going on in Daviess County, which I’ve talked to Deputy (Jacob) Gould up in Daviess County. And we know that it’s happening in Webster County because we’ve located mail matter in our county from Webster County. It’s somebody that’s cutting through Webster County, McLean County and into Daviess County, or vice versa, and basically hitting the same areas is what they’re doing.”

Payne said that the office started receiving reports of this issue towards the end of August, though Payne notes that a couple of people have come forward saying that they didn’t receive mail that they were supposed to have received in July.

“We actually have been finding more dumped mail matter than having theft of mail matter, which is kind of strange,” Payne said. “But, it’s something that we’re trying to be in the area during the mail times. There’s been instances where some people are using registered mail so that they know when it’s exactly delivered. They’re going out 15 minutes after it’s delivered and the mail is already gone.”

Payne, who retired in 2014 as a detective in Owensboro, notes that this type of event had occurred once in a while, where residents would have missing FedEx and UPS boxes, but notes that he has not experienced it being on a consistent basis.

“There have been past, I wouldn’t say surges, but past incidents … where it may have been ... opportunistic,” Payne said. “Somebody driving by and seeing a box sticking out and grabbing it or what have you. It’s nothing that’s a regular occurrence. This is the first time I’ve worked on a case that it just seems to continue on.”

Payne reports that the sheriff’s office has not received any instances of the mailboxes being physically damaged, but that the perpetrators have been keeping the mailbox doors open.

Payne and the sheriff’s office have communicated with the mail carriers in order for them to be “extra vigilant” on who is in their surroundings due to the possibility of people following mail carriers on their routes during deliveries.

Since receiving reports, Payne estimates that about 12 people have been affected, and he’s uncertain how this will develop with the increase of mail and package shipments during the holiday season.

With this, Payne recommends residents use trail cameras or external video cameras that they can point towards their mailboxes in order to see if someone takes their mail.

Payne also notes that residents have another option to keep track of their mail.

“There’s also a thing called Informed Delivery through the U.S. Postal Service that people can sign up for that will let them know that mail matter was supposed to be delivered this day and what it was,” Payne said. “We’ve talked to the Postmaster here in Calhoun for the area and also the postal inspector and keeping them informed on what’s going on also.”

Payne is thankful for the residents of Beech Grove that are staying alert and reporting any suspicious activities and asking for help, if needed.

“You know how they say it takes a village,” Payne said. “It’s definitely taking a village out in Beech Grove trying to stop this.”

Payne said that residents should not approach a potential perpetrator if they come into contact or witness them during the act, but rather attempt to get a license plate number, a physical description and to take a picture or video.

“For the safety of our residents, we would prefer not to approach (the possible perpetrators),” Payne said. “That’s what we’re there for.”

If you have any questions, concerns or would like to report any suspicious activity, contact the sheriff’s office at 270-273-3276.

To sign up for Informed Delivery, visit informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action.

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