Scripps Ranch suffers mail thefts
By Bella Ross
Residents of Scripps Ranch have experienced numerous incidents of mail theft for at least six months, with the perpetrators often striking entire streets at once in the late hours of the night.
JL Nuss, who lives in the Wine Country portion of Scripps Ranch, said her street has been struck twice in the last month.
“People started checking their Ring cameras, and it turned out this vehicle that had two occupants in it … was bouncing from street to street in a matter of minutes,” Nuss said.
Anecdotal reports on the Scripps Ranch Information Exchange social media page indicate numerous local streets have been struck by postal thieves, and many incidents have resulted in reports to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Some of these streets are Creekside Court, Semillon Boulevard, Woodstream Point, Rue Du Nuage, Pointed Oak Lane, Elderwood Lane, Deerfoot Road, Creekside Court, Glencreek Circle, Scripps Trail, Rue des Amis, La Vita Court, Clearwood Court, Poyntell Circle and Scripps Vista Way.
Mail theft, as local as it may seem, is a federal crime that is beyond the San Diego Police Department’s jurisdiction. Victims should report these incidents to the USPS, and each incident should be investigated by an inspector general.
The USPS is actively investigating the influx of reports coming out of Scripps Ranch, but is unable to release additional details regarding the scope of the problem due to it being an “ongoing investigation,” said Patricia Mendoza, USPS postal inspector for the Los Angeles Division.
The U.S. legal code defines mail theft as a felony, which can result in up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
“It feels like a violation of privacy,” Nuss said.
There are many things Scripps Ranch residents can do to protect their mail, such as picking it up promptly after it is delivered – and not leaving it overnight – having it delivered to a local post office for pickup or tracking deliveries on the USPS website.
In Nuss’s case, none of the mailboxes on her street had locks, but the recent thefts have inspired her to begin searching for a lockable one instead.
“We make sure that as soon as we hear the mailman we go out there and retrieve the mail, right then and there,” Nuss said. “We try not to leave any mail in the mailbox, and we try not to leave anything important that’s outgoing in there.”
Criminals who target mailboxes are often looking for cash, checks or information that can be used for identity theft. Therefore, avoid sending cash or coins through the mail and, if you are expecting to receive sensitive information, contact the issuing agency to learn when it should be arriving.
Reports of mail theft can be filed online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov or via phone at (877) 876-2455.