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Thieves Use a Postal Workers Master Key to Unlock Apartment Mailboxes

CORONA (CBSLA.com) — Residents in some Riverside County neighborhoods are upset because thieves have been stealing their mail for months.

Larissa Adrian started noticing her mailbox and her neighbors’ were left open and empty over the holidays. She took pictures and reported the crimes. But the thefts continue to happen, she claimed.

Now that tax season is coming, she is worried thieves will steal her critical personal information. “Now, these are tax forms, w2’s, to file our taxes, to get information. This is more of an identity theft than it was before,” Adrian said.

But it’s not just in her Sycamore Creek neighborhood. Adrian said it has been happening throughout of Corona, Horsethief Canyon Ranch, Montecito Ranch and  Painted Hills among others.

Janene Vinson lives in a gated community in Sycamore Hills.  She too has fallen victim. “It makes you feel like you’ve been violated,” she said.

Residents from the different communities set up a Facebook page after the postal service failed to do any thing about it, they said.

The victims have also been reaching out to local politicians. Jason Gagnon, the Communications Director for Congressman Ken Calvert, wrote on the community Facebook page on Tuesday saying: “The postal service believes this is most likely connected to recent assaults on postalemployees who had the key stolen from them.”

A security video shows a man and woman in Studio City opening the mail boxes at an apartment complex with a master key last month. They used a key that only the U.S. Postal Service was supposed to have, authorities said. The postal inspector said there has been an increase in attacks on postal employees.

That is why Carlos Vasquez has been actively patrolling his neighborhood with his dog. “We have our whole neighborhood highly involved with what’s become really good community effort. We’re just so tired of being vandalized,” Vasquez said. “Everybody is ripping us off, and we’re just really tired of it.”

If you have been a victim of similar mail theft, contact your local postal office immediately.

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