Eau Claire neighborhood sees spike in mail thefts, vandalism

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

A local neighborhood is on edge after a recent string of mail-related thefts and vandalism.

Eau Claire Police say they’ve gotten four reports of theft and vandalism of mail in the past week.

Three of them were on Eau Claire’s south side.

Police reports indicate the crimes happened near the Oakwood Mall and in a neighborhood near South Middle School.

WEAU 13 News spoke with the Eau Claire Postmaster on Tuesday, who said the U.S. Postal Service has seen a spike in mail-related crimes on the south side of the city in the past three weeks.

Jill Dieringer, who lives on Mitchell Avenue on Eau Claire’s south side, said it all started a couple weeks ago when she noticed a broken mail box down the street.

Now she said she’s shocked to hear a vandal had stolen one of her neighbor’s mail, tore it up and tossed it in the middle of the street.

“I can imagine how it can be disturbing for a lot of people depending on what they're mail is. It’s bad enough with all the ways people can get your information,” Dieringer said.

On the same day, police reported another mail-ripping crime on Chumas Drive, just one street north.

“There's an increase lately and they're mostly taking letters and stuff out of the mailboxes and that's usually bills being paid or checks going out to family and relatives,” said Kim Leith, the Postmaster of Eau Claire.

Leith said you can keep your mail materials secure by avoiding mailing cash or coins and getting a mailbox that can lock.

“If you're heading out of town make sure you have your mail on hold or have somebody picking up your mail. If you're not going to be home until later in the day have someone pick it up for you,” Leith said.

And if you’re waiting for a holiday gift to arrive, Leith recommends letting your mail carrier know where you want your package placed, or if you’d rather pick it up at the Post Office.

Some neighbors said these crimes will change how they get their mail.

“Maybe go out there and get your schedule set right away so you can get your mail right away,” said neighbor Jason Keisler.

The Postmaster also reminds all that messing with someone’s mail is a federal offense.

She said if your mail has been stolen or vandalized, call the police first and then contact your local postal inspector.

Police reports indicate there was a theft of mail on the north side of Eau Claire on Fall Street.

The homeowner told WEAU 13 News that he had a letter stolen.

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  • by anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Dec 14, 2011 at 04:23 PM
    Here's what I would do. Host a get together with your neighbors-get to know them. Have a xmas party or football party-then people will keep a better eye on their neighborhood because they'll feel they're a part of something. Also, it doesn't hurt to offer your mail carrier cookies or coffee or a soda when it's hot. My folks used to do that to our mail carrier and we never had any troubles.
  • by scott Location: eau claire on Dec 14, 2011 at 12:39 PM
    hey ups and geo get over it, come up with something original, or shut up because your union thing is incredibly old, and very, very tiresome.
  • by UPS on Dec 14, 2011 at 11:30 AM
    This should all clear up when the unions run the USPS into the ground and they close up shop. $10 Billion in debt this year alone...won't be too much longer and the USPS will be history.
  • by Geo Location: Eau Claire on Dec 14, 2011 at 09:12 AM
    This is what happens when the mail carriers are to lazy to deliver the mail to the house. Mail boxes should not be next to the road in the city. This is the only city that I have lived in that has mail boxes next to the road in the city limits. Then they start wining when the snow is high in front of the mail box and can't reach the mail box. What the post office needs is mailMEN not mailWIMPS. If they stopped driving their little trucks around that would save a lot of money. IT'S ALL UNION.
    • reply
      by resident on Dec 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM in reply to Geo
      Geo, I would rather doubt having a maliman distributing mail house to house would save money. It takes much longer to walk than to drive. Eau Claire has grown too big to offer door to door service. Plus, hourly wages would go ski-high if it was provided. We cant blame USPS for these thefts, its the delinquents in those particular neighborhoods that need parental guidance and supervision USPS is dying and wont survive if they enact the the changes they described. While other providers are growing leaps and bounds,USPS is going back to the stone age.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2011 at 08:09 AM
    I would boobie trap the mail box, teach them a lesson. It sounds like kids.
  • by resident on Dec 14, 2011 at 05:11 AM
    Trying to set up a schedule to be able to get your mail before a theft occurs would be rather difficult, unless you live in an area where its delivered at the same time everyday. A good many of us would have to watch for it as it changes daily from minutes, to hours of arrival. Perhaps having a neighbor pick yours up would work better, if youre lucky to have a stay at home person close by.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 13, 2011 at 06:13 PM
    ALso in Altoona recently.
    • reply
      by Southy on Dec 15, 2011 at 01:19 AM in reply to
      I think I will place a mouse trap in there. It most likely is kids. Maybe a couple broken knuckles will teach them to stay out of other peoples private property. We also had some Xmas decorations stolen last year from our front yard on the south side near where all this is taking place. I've taken measures to catch these sick people this year with a few surprises awaiting them if they venture into my yard for my stuff.
      • reply
        by Jenny at Mail Boss on Dec 22, 2011 at 06:51 PM in reply to Southy
        It's most likely meth heads, not kids. Most mail-identity theft is driven by the methamphetamine epidemic. MsNBC actually did a very interesting expose on it. Meth heads can even trade stolen mail for drugs, or cash for drugs. It's crazy.
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