String of Stockton Mail Thefts Leaves One Neighborhood without Mail Delivery

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STOCKTON --

Mail thieves continue to pose a problem for Northern Stockton neighborhoods, especially as the Christmas holiday nears closer.

No more letters, bills or statements for Jodie Fejdasz-Lopez, who lives on Green Ridge Drive near the Elk Horn Country Club. Her mailbox has been hit so many times by thieves the box no longer closes properly.

"It's frustrating. I like everyone else think I deserve my mail," said Fejdasz-Lopez

In the meantime, her carrier left a note for her, and for the other 16 families who use the community mailbox saying there will be no more mail delivery. They'll need to go get their mail at the post office, three miles away.

"It's a huge inconvenience," said another neighbor, Tim Kozman, who said he often waits in 15-person lines just to get his mail.

Neighbors on Green Ridge say they filed claims with the post office after the second and third incidents for a more secure box.

Fejdasz-Lopez was told via voicemail from the local Stockton Post Office the box was checked and secure, however, the door guarding each mail slot is being held together by a piece of tape.

"The last time when they broke it, the lock won't go in anymore because they bent it right here," said Fejdasz-Lopez as she pointed out the faulty lock.

"We all file complaints and nothing seems to be working," Fejdasz-Lopez said.

"We understand the frustrations of the customers," Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch said.

Unfortunately this neighborhood isn't unique.

"Our Stockton office has a number of mail theft investigations going on," Fitch said.

There have been dozens of reports of stolen mail, specifically from the Northern Stockton area. Mail thieves, however, aren't limited to Stockton, according to Fitch, who says the issue has been prevalent in Sacramento, Fresno and Fairfield.

One Stockton woman posted a picture to Facebook showing hundreds of pieces of stolen mail dumped near her home.

"The bad guys are focusing on certain areas, the key is identifying and arresting them," Fitch said.

Postal inspectors, the enforcement branch of the Postal Service, are working hard to do that.

"I'm just concerned about when it's going to be fixed, and how it's going to be fixed," Kozman said.

For these residents, security means knowing their private information won't be intercepted again.

Mail theft is a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

If you've been the victim of mail theft, you're encouraged to file a report by calling (877) 876-2455.

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