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Troubleshooters: Federal investigation underway into thefts from mail collection boxes

Multiple reported their mail was taken out of the blue collection box at the Hikes Point Post Office
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 3:08 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky made package theft a crime this year, adding porch piracy to the existing mail theft laws, but thieves still target snail mail. They also don’t need to go onto people’s porches, instead, they can target mail that’s dropped off in one spot for them. For example, the postal service collection box in the parking lot of the Hikes Point Post Office.

Every week, packages arrive at Connor Gingrich and Jessica Titzer’s front door. They’re wedding gifts, arriving before they exchange nuptials in mid May. But, strangely, after they mailed out their wedding invitations nothing was coming back to their mailbox.

“Jessica says nobody has RSVP’d yet on the website, and that we had received nothing in response,” said Gingrich.

“I was expecting the majority of people to text us or get on the website,” said Titzer.

Gingrich went back to the Hikes Point Post Office where he had mailed the 80 invitations.

“I dropped them off in the blue bin,” recalled Gingrich.

He put them in the blue mail box closest to the road.

“It was a Sunday and it was mid-afternoon,” said Gingrich.

After his fiancé reminded him.

“I had forgotten the day before,” said Gingrich.

“I was like, you have to mail these,” Titzer said.

“I walk in to the Post Office and I go in and talk to one of the ladies in the front, explained everything,” said Gingrich.

The answer he got wasn’t what he was expecting.

“I assumed that it was probably just COVID related delays at the Post Office,” said Gingrich.

It wasn’t.

“He does not call me during the day when I’m at work,” Titzer said, “and he was like, so what are you doing, just working, so bad news, the invitations are gone.”

Stolen.

“He says I’m not supposed to tell you this, but currently there’s an investigation that’s ongoing right now where we’ve having an issue with mail being stolen out of the blue drop box bins,” said Gingrich.

They were both stunned.

“You would think they are basically impenetrable and that once it’s in there it’s safe and sound and in the hands of the USPS,” said Gingrich.

WAVE asked the Postal Inspection Service just how many mail theft complaints it’s received across the metro. From January 1, 2021 through March 28, 2022, the number is 624. The most thefts happened in zip codes 40291, 40214, and 40207. A spokesperson also confirmed they’re conducting a joint investigation on mail stolen from the blue mail boxes.

“I’ve been putting mail in that box since about 1995,” said Donnie S. Luckett, “never had a problem.”

Multiple people, including Luckett, came up to us while we were shooting video at the post office saying they had mail stolen out of the same box. LMPD has three mail theft reports from this box. 382 mail theft reports in all for the same time period.

“It has been a nightmare, a literal nightmare,” Luckett said.

Postal Inspectors suggested dropping off mail before the final collection time, or dropping it inside the post office.

“It was a scramble to figure out what should we do,” said Gingrich.

Meanwhile, Connor and Jessica had to go to Plan B. They snapped a photo of their invitation and texted it to their guests.

“Our parents were a little bit more stressed than we were,” Titzer said.

The response rate was good, although they were disappointed to be out $200 for their invitations and postage. At least their wedding gifts made it through delivery.

The Postal Inspection Service said nine mail theft cases have been opened and prosecuted in the last two years here in Louisville. One of those cases was for two people who stole a mail truck and some of the mail inside.

One person was sentenced to 15 months in prison. The other was put on probation after being given credit for the time they served in jail before the end of their case.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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