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I-Team: Police investigating thefts from mailboxes near Hazleton

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SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Law enforcement is issuing a warning for people who live in the Hazleton area to beware of thefts of mail from postal service drop boxes. Those thefts have taken place over the past several days.

Mailboxes are being targeted in the Sugarloaf, Conyngham Valley area. Investigators say the victims of the thefts have lost thousands of dollars.

Police say one drop box at the Seybertsville post office is one of the boxes targeted by thieves.

“We have mail stolen from post office boxes and usually people don’t find out for a couple of weeks when their bills aren’t paid and they find out through their bank that the check was stolen and changed for significantly higher numbers,” explained Chief Josh Winters of Sugarloaf Township Police.

Winters tells Eyewitness News the culprits act quickly to cash the checks and alter them to get a larger amount of money.

“They are being deposited at ATMs so they’re not even being handed to a person so in some cases there was actually white-out used which you find hard to believe. Other times they’re actually washed. Sometimes there are digits added,” said Winters.

Chief Winters says people should consider carefully when they drop off their mail.

“I always recommend don’t put mail in the mailbox after the pick-up times because that’s when it’s going to sit there overnight and potentially until noon or 4:00 the next day. So you’re there almost 24 hours especially overnight time hours. 99 percent of the time the thefts are happening at night,” stated Winters.

Chief Winters says the best way to prevent you from being a theft victim is to take your mail into the post office and actually hand it to someone or put it into a box inside the building.

Winters did not want to describe how the mail is being stolen. He did say the boxes are not being broken into and again we must point out that there are no reports of mail being stolen in the Wilkes-Barre area.

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