Frustrated neighbors in Lacey community trying to halt repeated mail thefts

LACEY, Wash. — After dealing with mail thefts for months, neighbors in one Thurston County community say enough is enough: They’re investing big bucks to protect what’s theirs.

“They go through our mail and they look for credit card deals in the mail and, obviously, we don’t know what they take, because we don’t get the mail before they get to it,” says homeowner Steven Sawyer.

Sawyer says his surveillance video speaks for itself.

“Five days ago, I got some really good video, 10 second batches of him reaching into the neighbors’ mail boxes, hitting the mailboxes one after the other,” said Sawyer.

He adds that he and his neighbors have been dealing with mail theft for several months. He says he caught the alleged thief on camera. While the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office investigates, Sawyer says he’s taken every step he can think of.

“All the neighbors got together and we got these locking mail boxes. It didn’t seem to deter them. They found a way to stick their hand through the small slot that the mailman puts the mail in,” says Sawyer.

He put up a camera that took still images and then installed video cameras -- and that’s not all. He says he spent about $1,200 on a heavy duty mailbox. He says it’s similar to a P.O. box. He says the post office will put on a special lock and only they have the key.

He and his neighbors also have keys to each individual box. They are hoping that by spending this money and investing in something like this, they can deter thieves. Security experts say not every locking mailbox is as secure as you think.

Jerold McGlothlin, owner of 25/7 Protection in Tukwila, explained to us back in October how thieves are breaking in.

“It’s everywhere, therefore, the bad guy is comfortable with the box. The bad guy knows they can get a screwdriver and they pop it and the door is down. Or they teach them how to reach their arm in at an angle and get what they want,” says McGlothlin.

Sawyer hopes sharing his story will inspire other communities dealing with this very issue.

“Work together as neighbors and keep an eye out for each other. It’s not as bad as somebody breaking into your house, but it’s the second worst thing. They’re getting your mail, your birthday cards, your most private stuff that people send you. It takes a community to stand up and fight this crime,” says Sawyer.