'They're going to be an important tool for us:' USPS to install cameras to deter mail theft

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service plans to install cameras to some of the community mailboxes in Sugar Land and other surrounding areas to try to identify those individuals attempting to steal residents' mail.

The Sugar Land Police Department told ABC13 it has received at least 18 reports of mail theft in the area since Thanksgiving of 2021.

"This has included at least one (USPS) Post Office employee who was robbed of their keys and a number of different cases of mail that has been missing from mailboxes," said Doug Adolph, a spokesperson with the police department.

Russell Dunlap, a Sugar Land resident, said some folks in their community added signs stating there was 24-hour surveillance video monitoring the boxes, but it didn't deter thieves from breaking into the community mailboxes in several neighborhoods throughout the area.

"We've seen a lot of reports of mailboxes being gotten into by way of a key so nothing is broken," Dunlap said. "But they are left wide open, and then people's mail is missing and it's been going on for a long time."

This week, the police department confirmed it is working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which plans to install cameras at some of the community mailboxes to try to identify the people breaking in and who may be making a copy or stealing carriers' keys.

"They are going to be an important tool for us," Adolph said. "An investigative tool that would allow us to identify suspects, and then they will tie into our existing license plate recognition cameras that we have deployed throughout the city to help clear some of these cases."

A spokesperson with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service sent the following statement to ABC13 on Thursday:

"I can confirm that the inspection service is working with the Sugarland Police Department, as well as other local law enforcement partners, with ongoing efforts to combat mail theft. We are using a variety of preventive and investigative tools to identify and arrest those individuals responsible for these crimes. In order to maintain the integrity of those investigations, the inspection service cannot provide additional details, such as the locations of where those tools are being used. If any member of the community believes their mail has been stolen, they can report it to the USPIS by calling our hotline, 877-876-2455, or visiting our website, www.uspis.gov/report. If they have any information regarding individuals involved in stealing mail, they are urged to report that information to the USPIS."

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