OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City Police are increasing patrols after neighbors living on North Markwell Avenue, near NW 10th Street and N. Council Avenue, were hit hard by mail thieves. Phil Sisco found out he'd been ripped off when a neighbor stopped by with other people's mail she found in her box. 

"She explained to me that someone had evidently had started going through the mailboxes starting with our neighbors house and going down the street  going through boxes, opening mail, taking what they needed," Sisco said.

In Sisco's case, the thief got away with a check he was mailing out. Postal inspectors are looking into the thefts.   

"We'd run down leads, if people are cashing the checks, using the credit cards, whatever it is that they may find in the mail we certainly would be following up on that," said US Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey.

The post office has a list of suggestions to reduce your chance of being ripped off:

  • Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery.
  • If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
  • Don't send cash in the mail.
  • And tell your Post Office when you'll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.

"If you go on vacation make sure that you put a hold in.  That's very easy to do now on line." McMurrey said

Sisco says that's good advice. "It's just a real inconvenience when someone gets your financial information because you have to take time off from work, go to the bank, put in information change, stop credit cards, get different cards issued. It's just a real inconvenience for this to happen."

Mail theft carries a hefty penalty; up to five years in prison for every item stolen. If you believe you've been the victim of mail theft, you can file a report with the US Postal Inspectors. 

Or you can call 1-877-876-2455.