A Riverside County Congressman today introduced a bill that would double the maximum penalty for stealing mail.
“The disturbing growth in mail theft in my district, and particularly the theft of cluster box units, must be stopped,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R- Corona. “The criminals who steal mail to conduct identity theft or for other purposes need to face greater consequences for their actions.”
Calvert’s HR 4515, the “Ensuring the Safety of Our Mail Act,” would increase the current maximum federal sentence for a mail theft conviction from five to 10 years.
“My constituents are fed up with the disruption to their lives caused by these criminals, and it’s time for Congress to take action to discourage these types of crimes,” the congressman said.
Riverside County sheriff’s officials recently issued an alert notifying residents countywide of a major upward spike in mail thefts since the start of the year.
Sheriff’s detectives said investigating thefts and recovering stolen post can prove very challenging. They made the following recommendations to help secure personal and business mail:
— drop mail directly at the post office, or hand it directly to the letter carrier, whenever possible;
— don’t leave items in a mailbox overnight;
— retrieve mail as quickly as possible after it’s delivered, and if expecting credit cards, checks or other sensitive items, ask a friend or trusted neighbor to pick it up and hold it until you return home;
— immediately notify the post office regarding a change of address;
— ask the post office to hold all mail when out of town; and
— report all suspected mail thefts immediately.
Thefts can be reported to the sheriff’s department at (951) 776-1099, or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455.