Police: Mail thieves after stimulus checks

Police: Mail thieves after stimulus checks

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The Kirkland Police Department has a warning for residents after an increase in mail thefts as people wait for stimulus checks.

Mail thefts are reported common in most cities, but this time, Lieutenant Rob Saloum with Kirkland Police says thieves are breaking into mailboxes looking for federal checks.

“There has been a definite uptick in the last week or so,” Lt. Saloum says, “Anytime there’s a large downturn in the economy and people are struggling, people already doing criminal activity are going to take every opportunity to take advantage of other people.”

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The department received more than 20 reports of mail theft in a single day last week, according to Lt. Saloum.

Kirkland isn’t the only city on the Eastside experiencing similar crimes. Lt. Saloum did not give specific locations for the thefts but said they are occurring in neighborhoods almost everywhere.

“Everybody’s got mailboxes so it’s very easy just to go to one area and hit a cluster of boxes and then move into another area,” Lt. Saloum explained.

Mailboxes may be easy targets, but going after stimulus checks that people are desperately waiting for makes this crime even more serious and despicable, he said.

“There’s people that are relying on these checks. This isn’t something that’s a minor crime.”

Many people may not realize checks have been stolen. Thousands of Washingtonians are experiencing delays with checks already, Lt. Saloum says.

“Don’t let that mail sit there. Go ahead and pick it up and lower that exposure,” he recommends.

Kirkland Police will work with the United States Postal Inspection Service to investigate the recent mail thefts. Officers will patrol and canvass neighborhoods as people continue reporting stolen mail.