Montrose post office branch locking mail boxes at night

Dropping off mail at the drive-thru receptacles outside the Montrose post office can no longer be part of evening errands because the chutes are being covered and locked after closing.

The added security at the mailboxes is part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Postal Service to respond to either reported or potential acts of letter theft or vandalism and to hopefully prevent it altogether, said spokesman Richard Maher.

While he said he couldn’t recall specific instances of theft at the Montrose branch — located at 2100 Montrose Ave. — mailboxes that are in secluded areas and aren’t located on public streets are being fitted with locks.

At the Montrose branch, the pair of drive-thru receptacles are located in the rear parking lot.

“The boxes that are in more secluded areas are far more susceptible to mail theft because you got a thief that doesn’t want to be seen,” Maher said.

The mailboxes in Montrose are now only open during post office hours and are locked at 5 p.m., when the last collection for the day is made.

The chutes are then sealed with red caps, which are then padlocked.

“After the last employee empties the box for the last time, they will lock it up until the next morning,” Maher said.

He also said postal-service customers at all branches should avoid dropping off letters at mailboxes when post offices are closed, including Sundays. The Montrose branch is also closed on Saturdays.

“Almost all mail theft out of boxes occurs under the cover of darkness,” he said. “You don’t want your mail, especially your valuable mail, sitting there overnight.