EDMONTON – At least a dozen different subdivisions in Strathcona County have had their community mailboxes broken into just one week before Christmas.
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On Thursday, Strathcona County RCMP received 19 different reports of theft – spanning from Range Road 213 to 214 and Township Roads 525 to 532 near Ardrossan.
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Because all of the thefts happened in the same area and on the same day, RCMP believe there is one suspect or group responsible for the thefts.
The thefts have left rural residents shaking their heads.
Lawrence Harnesk lives in the Beverly Hills subdivision, across the street from his neighbourhood’s mailboxes.
He said he didn’t hear anything unusual recently and was baffled by the crime.
“It’s a lack of respect for other people’s property and other people’s privacy. It’s just not cool.”
Neighbour Tanisha Parker agreed: “At this time of year, I think everybody enjoys a card from family far away and it’s just heartless what they did.”
Parker found remnants of a torn up Christmas package from Ireland scattered across her driveway. The wrapping suggested the parcel might have included a calendar and childrens’ card.
This is the fourth time this year Strathcona County RCMP have investigated a string of rural mail theft. Constable Chantelle Kelly said thieves are specifically targeting boxes in quiet areas.
“The culprits can hide a little better. They can drive up to a mailbox without being seen. Especially in the middle of the night. There’s not as many houses and residents around,” Kelly explained. “At this point we don’t have any leads so we’re asking the public to make sure they’re keeping an eye out.”
In the Beverly Hills subdivision off Range Road 213, residents said in the past year, the mailboxes were moved away from the main road to alleviate congestion.
Larry St. Amand said that created new problems.
“Now they’re very well hidden by the trees on my property. And the neighbours across? If they’re not home, nobody sees what’s going on. They’re in a low visibility location now.”
To prevent theft, the RCMP are urging people to pick up their mail daily and to think twice about what they’re sending.
“We’re suggesting not to send cash or gift cards in the mail,” said Kelly.