How the Grinch stole Christmas: Thieves targeting mailboxes

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - A string of mail thefts in Nampa has neighbors on edge around the holidays.

Nampa Police have responded to more than 15 reports of theft in the last week alone, and say there are likely many more cases that haven't been reported because people often don't even notice their mail is missing.

Belinda Grover noticed.

"The Grinch stole my Christmas," Grover joked.

While it wasn't actually the Grinch, it was thieves who were targeting her mail.

"I got home from work and I noticed that my flag was still up," she said. "I had put Christmas cards in that morning and the box was still open."

Then a neighbor found one of her cards open, laying on the street.

"I drove around and I found another one torn up in the street and then come to find out her mail had been taken too," Grover said. "There's multiple people who are missing their mail."

The Nampa Police Department says these thefts happen ever year, and spike around the holidays.

"This time if year people know Christmas presents, checks, cards are all being mailed out," Sgt. Tim Randall said. "Then they become easy targets"

Police say putting the flag up on your mailbox is actually a target for thieves. While it lets the postmaster know you have mail waiting inside, it also lets thieves know the same thing. Instead, officers suggest taking your mail to the Post Office, or putting it in a designated drop spot to insure your mail gets delivered safely.

"Also follow up with that to be sure the item has got to where it's supposed to be," Randall said.

Grover said thankfully, she mails anything valuable through the Post Office, not her mailbox. Now, she is encouraging everyone else to do the same.

"I didn't think anyone would take a Christmas card because I know there's nothing in there," Grover said. "But they don't know that. I actually called some family members and I asked them to not send stuff that would be worth a value. Instead, maybe wait until after the holidays or send it so I have to sign for it."

But thieves will also target incoming mail. Nampa Police say packages that are left on front door steps are also a big concern, for thieves can easily snatch them. It's important to check your mail as soon as you can after it gets delivered every day.

If you're headed out of town for the holidays, police say to have a neighbor pick up your mail every day, or to call the Post Office and have them hold it until you return. Also, never send cash in the mail.