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Mail thieves target North Austin neighborhood for second time

Community mailbox broken into off Barchetta St. (KEYE TV)

A North Austin neighborhood has been cleaned out of its mail for the second time in nearly a year. The crooks are targeting a large community mailbox located on a secluded side road -- off Barchetta Street.

Today is Sandra Kerkman's 64th birthday. So naturally, Kerkman was hoping to have a few birthday cards waiting for her in the community mailbox. Instead she found it busted open and empty.

"Oh, it's awful," said Kerkman.

It appears someone used a crowbar to pry open the metal doors -- taking whatever mail was inside. The same exact thing happened last December. "It's very scary. We don't know what mail we've received and what they might do with it," added Kerkman.

Alan Bachman, who works for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, says the crooks are looking for personal information that can be used to steal the victim's identity. "A lot of bills have a lot of information on it that you don't realize. It may have your email on there which might be your user name for your billing account," said Bachman.

Sandra Maldonado lives in the same North Austin neighborhood. Her community mailbox was untouched but she's worried it's only a matter of time before it gets hit too. "I think it's sad, unfortunate to think that some is trying to get over on hard-working people," said Maldonado.

The U.S. Postal Service has put up warning stickers -- advising residents to pick up their mail every day in order to minimize the risk of theft. But Kerkman believes more needs to be done to protect the community from repeat offenders.

"We can't put any outgoing mail here because this is open, it's not locked, it's not safe," said Kerkman.

Anyone with information is asked to contact U.S. Postal Inspectors. Stealing mail is a federal offense.

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