Mail theft complaints on the rise in Chilliwack

Thefts prompt identity theft concerns and trigger another reminder to check mailboxes on daily basis

A Chilliwack mail box damaged by thieves.

A Chilliwack mail box damaged by thieves.

Have you checked your community mailbox lately?

Residents are being reminded to check their mail daily to avoid having mail stolen from brazen thieves who bust into the roadside boxes. But a growing list of community mailboxes are already out of service this week following a rash of break-ins over the past week.

Mailboxes were broken or pried into in the Popkum area, Yale Road East, Slesse Park, Cheam Reserve, Woodbine, Garrison Crossing, Vedder Road, Sappers Way, Marie Drive, Canterbury Drive, Luckakuck and throughout Promontory. And those are just the ones people have noted on social media and through complaints to this newspaper.

Canada Post told The Progress they are working to restore service as quickly as possible. In some locations, the boxes were fixed the same day. In other areas, customers have gone almost a week without their regular mailbox service. Customers affected are advised to visit their closest postal office during regular business hours.

Brian Tade said both sides of his community mailbox were busted open sometime last week, and he phone the post office to let them know.

“It didn’t look like there was any vandalism to it at all,” Tade said. “But all my mail was gone.”

He worries about identity theft, although he’s not sure there would be enough information in his personal mail for a thief to work with.

Peter Butcher,  president of the Upper Valley local of Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said that identity theft is a very real threat to community mailbox customers.

“They’re looking for ID,” he said. “Identity theft is mainly their target, that’s my view on it.”

And the timing of the spate of thefts is no mystery to him.

“Right now it’s GST time, it’s tax time, it’s Easter,” he said, meaning every box could reveal tax returns, government cheques, and parcels containing cash and presents.

“It’s one stop shopping,” he added.

While there are more community mailboxes now than ever, he said it’s an age-old problem in rural routes where the large boxes are the norm.

“This has been going on for as long as I can remember,” Butcher said. “But it’s more prominent now because we’re losing the letter carriers to these super boxes.”

The best way to ensure your mail stays safe, he said, is to pick your mail up daily. But that’s not always possible, he adds, for various reasons. The mailbox could be far from home, or the carrier could bring the mail late without the customer knowing.

Mail could be delivered as late at 8 p.m. by new or fill-in carriers, he said.

New designs of the mailboxes have made it a bit harder to break into, but not impossible.

“Nothing will stop a crook,” Butcher added.

Canada Post agrees on that point.

“Unfortunately, there is only one type of person that chooses to break the law, that’s a criminal and they are determined regardless of the target,” Anick Losier, director of media relations for Canada Post said. “It takes an equal level of determination to deter and stop those who commit property crimes and we are committed to do everything possible to support the police in their efforts to do so. We are working to restore service as quickly as possible.”

Canada Post offers some tips to protecting your mail.

They say to collect mail daily, use their ‘hold mail’ service while on vacation, to never send cash, and to deposit sensitive or financial information directly at a post office.

They ask that if you see an overturned or vandalized street mailbox, call 1-800-267-1177, and if you see suspicious activity, to report it to the RCMP.

Anyone who believes they may be the victim of identity theft should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

jpeters@theprogress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

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

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read