RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Some Rapid City neighbors are teaming up to keep their mail out of the wrong hands.
When an important package didn’t arrive in the mail, Mike Knapp discovered he was the victim of a crime.
“One, you feel violated but importantly for me, my medications from the VA come in the mail and so really for me personally it’s life-threatening for me if I don’t get my medications,” Knapp said.
Someone had stolen that medication right out of his mailbox. To prevent it from happening again, Knapp and his neighbors have ordered more secure mailboxes. In the meantime, they’ve set up a system to keep their mail out of the wrong hands.
“What we do is we send out a text message in the neighborhood when the mail arrives to notify each other and then whoever is home will typically go down and gather everybody’s mail and deliver it to everybody so they get their items,” Knapp said.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has already dealt with more than a hundred mail theft cases just this year.
Investigator, Amanda Swanson, says mail thieves usually look for specific things.
“What they’re doing is they’re driving around emptying the mail and looking for checks, debit cards, credit cards, cash, anything of value and they are taking that and using it for their advantage,” Swanson said.
Swanson urges people who have open mailboxes, to make sure valuable mail is sent to a safe location.
“Or another thing too is having it tracked and so when it does show up, you’re notified that something is there at your mailbox,” Swanson said.
It’s also important for neighbors to look out for each other.
“It’s very unfortunate that we’ve all been victimized by this and more can’t be done to stop it,” Knapp said.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says mail thieves will also wash checks… which means erasing ink on the check and reusing it in someone else’s name.