Mail is going missing in at least one neighborhood of La Cañada Flintridge, according to one resident. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel are investigating to determine if mail thieves are at work.
Jim Short, who lives on Journey’s End Drive, said that on Aug. 19, Aug. 29 and Sept. 4 his mailbox, along with those of his neighbors who had curbside boxes, were found open and emptied. Short said he also found mail belonging to several other La Cañada residents discarded on his street, which he gave to the investigating deputy.
Sgt. Ray Harley of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station said that mail theft is primarily used for identity theft or check forging.
Harley said that thieves can easily cash a forged check with a fake ID.
“Checks, when they are stolen, it’s very easy to alter them or wash them with chemicals and write any information [thieves] choose,” said Harley.
If there’s evidence that someone has forged a check, Harley said the victim should contact their bank to limit the financial damage. They also should contact law enforcement officials, he said.
“Let’s face it, everybody has their own unique writing style … there’s nobody at a bank that’s going to look at these checks under a microscope,” said Harley.
Harley also recommends residents not use an unlocked curbside mailbox for outgoing mail that contains checks or personal information.
“Ideally, they want to consider purchasing a lockable secure type of mailbox,” said Harley.
In addition to not leaving outgoing mail, Harley suggested removal of incoming mail as soon as possible after it is delivered.