LUTHER, Okla. - Heather Allen was driving to work early Wednesday morning when she noticed something odd.
“I realized there was mail scattered all over the roadway,” said Allen.
Allen joined several other people who had pulled over to the side of Choctaw Rd., near Sorghum Mill, to pick up the mail.
“They were opened. There was personal information. There was insurance verifications. There had been birthday cards, probably had money in them. You know, just real personal things,” said Allen.
Allen says she and her husband picked up close to 200 pieces of mail and added it to the growing pile, which was taken to the Luther Post Office.
“I think that’s a total violation of my privacy. I’ve lived out here for 13 years and have never had any type of experience like that,” said Allen.
That mail will be turned over to a US postal inspector who will be investigating the crime.
“The government takes the security of your mail very seriously,” said US Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey. “We’ll be looking at everything we can from forensics, forensic evidence that’s left behind, to checks that are cashed or credit cards that are used.”
McMurrey says she believes someone was likely going through mailboxes in the area overnight and taking whatever they could grab.
“It does appear that there may be some sort of actual criminal purpose associated with this particular act,” said McMurrey.
Allen says this might cause her to rethink the way she gets her mail.
“It might make me get a P.O. box now because I can’t trust that my stuff is safe, and that’s sad,” said Allen.
Postal inspectors say that’s one option; another is a locking mailbox.
However, officials say the best prevention is emptying your mail box every day. Most mail thieves wait until the darkness of night to strike.
Mail theft is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison per piece of mail stolen.
If you have any information on this crime or any other mail stealing, you could get up to a $5,000 reward.
And if you think you have been a victim of mail theft yourself – you can report it here.