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Postal Inspectors Trying To Catch Thieves As Mailbox Thefts Continue In Manteca

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MANTECA --

Postal inspectors will concentrate their effort to catch mailbox thieves in the Central Valley after what appears to be an increase of cases over the past few months.

There have been 18 break-ins of cluster mailboxes in Manteca during October and November and more cases through the holidays.

"I was actually pretty disappointed," said Manteca resident Miles Juarez after he discovered the cluster box on his street was broken into a few weeks ago.

"It makes me really uncomfortable that the community that you live in is nice but at the same time you want to feel safe," said Juarez.

Some of the mailboxes have 16 compartments, making it easy for thieves to steal and resell credit card information, checks, social security numbers and other personal information.

The postal service says the thefts normally happen late at night. One way to avoid being a victim is to pick-up your mail as soon as it's delivered, or as soon as you get home from work.

They are also telling people to put outgoing mail in the big blue postal service mailboxes instead of in the outgoing mail slot on cluster boxes. The traditional mailboxes are much harder to break into although they may be more inconvenient.

Postal inspectors will be working with local law enforcement to identify the thieves, and may be reviewing homeowner security camera video for clues. Some thieves have been caught after victims made not of unauthorized purchases on their credit cards or bank accounts and notified postal inspectors who were able to track them down.