Mail box thefts prompt call for action

Ryder Lake residents are dealing with a rash of mailbox thefts, and a crown corporation that doesn’t seem to care.

Ryder Lake residents are dealing with a rash of mailbox thefts, and a crown corporation that doesn’t seem to care.

Barry Smith, who’s lived in the area for 33 years, says the first break-in occurred sometime around Dec. 1 and another break-in happened a few days later. He had just returned from a trip to Hawaii. His neighbors had been collecting his mail while he was away, and when he went to fetch it they told him about the problem.

The first break-ins were noticed at a bank of mailboxes on the corner of Parsons Road and Ryder Lake Road, but those weren’t the only ones invaded. A bank of boxes on Elk View Road, was also targeted, along with boxes further up the hill.

“And those are only the ones we know about,” Smith said. “I have never received anything from Canada Post to tell me my box has been broken into.”

Smith’s neighbors phoned the post office, and reported the break-ins in a voicemail message. Smith tried to do the same, dialing up the Sardis post office and asking for someone to call him back.

No one did, so he dropped by for a face-to-face chat.

“I talked to the postmaster, and he informed me the Chilliwack post office on Yale Road takes care of that sort of thing,” Smith said. “But they don’t have a phone number.”

Well technically they do.

Google Canada Post Yale Road and you’ll get 604-795-1604, a number that feeds you into an automated system. Choosing the ‘customer service’ option gets you a 1-800 number. Hitting zero in hopes of getting a human gets ‘the operator isn’t available’ message.

Playing by the rules, Smith dialed the 1-800 number. He spoke to a woman who promised to take care of the problem and get back to him.

She never did, leaving Smith thoroughly unimpressed.

“I didn’t like the cavalier attitude that Canada Post displayed,” he said.

“They (Canada Post) are there to provide a service, and they should be providing the solutions. Not us.”

Smith pines for the days of home-to-home delivery, when mail theft was a non-issue.

Canada Post cut that out years ago. But when they installed the banks of mail-boxes, they put them in areas that invite bad behaviour.

Smith’s box is 500 feet away from one house, totally shielded by trees and shrubbery. Another house sits 200 yards away, but it’s around a corner with a driveway that completely blocks sight-lines.

“These boxes are situated where there’s no one close by, with poor lighting or no lighting at all,” Smith explained. “They should be relocated to where they’re closer to residents or they should put up lights and security cameras over the top of them.”

If Ryder Lake residents aren’t happy with the setup as it currently is, they have just one option.

“We can pay for a post office box downtown,” said Smith, who reported the mailbox break-ins to the RCMP on Monday.

Contacted Monday afternoon, RCMP Cpl. Len Vannieuwenhuizen said Canada Post has investigational jurisdiction.

If Canada Post doesn’t fix the situation to his satisfaction, Smith plans on taking to the streets with a petition.

“I’ve talked to other people and mentioned that idea, and there’s quite a few people who’ve expressed interest,” he said. “So I may take it on, go door to door and call for some type of action.”

Contacted prior to deadline, Canada Post did not return phone or email requests for comment.

•  The mail-box break-in problem may have extended past Ryder Lake.

Chilliwack resident Dixie Nash said she was walking past a community mail box on Evans Road and saw yellow police tape draped across it.

“I think the public should be alerted about this. Maybe it is the time of year. That and desperation. But what is Canada Post doing about it? It means the mail isn’t safe.” she said. “I think they should go back to door-to-door delivery.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Brian Combes after getting keys to his new house on April 9, 2021. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Homeless no more on Skwah First Nation after 20 years

Brian Combes gets the keys to his newly built home near Chilliwack

In 2012, police in Abbotsford placed surveillance cameras near the Dhaliwal home in the 2500 block of Bradner Road after there were two drive-by shootings in the area. Harb Dhaliwal, 31, has now been identified as the victim of a fatal shooting April 17 in Vancouver. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford man named as victim of fatal weekend shooting in Vancouver

Harpreet Dhaliwal, 31, killed outside of Cardero’s restaurant in Coal Harbour

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom is offering free school tours of The Pencil Patch learning garden in Abbotsford in April, May and June.
Agriculture in the Classroom offers free school tours at learning garden

The Pencil Patch in Abbotsford provides 15 outdoor learning stations

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read