Between the final mail pickup at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, and 8:11 a.m. Friday, March 8, someone stole the mail from the outdoor U.S. Post Office dropbox in Pequot Lakes.
A short while later it was revealed that the outdoor dropbox behind the U.S. Post Office in Nisswa had also been forced open and the mail inside stolen.
A post office employee discovered the damaged mailbox in Pequot Lakes. The Pequot Lakes box was taken for analysis as evidence and replaced with another box.
“We think there might be a connection with what happened yesterday in Deerwood where mail was taken from a residence in St. Cloud,” Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang said Friday.
In that case, someone attempted to cash checks from the St. Cloud residence in Deerwood.
A vehicle was caught on security camera leaving the scene in Deerwood. It was identified as a red Ford Explorer with a broken bug deflector.
“If they see anything suspicious like mail laying out on the road, or a bunch of mailboxes that are open or anything like that it would be very helpful if they report it,” Klang said. “I know we have received calls from other agencies outside of Crow Wing County.”
Klang also encouraged anyone to report if they saw a vehicle matching the above description. If you are an owner of a vehicle that matches this description, officers would also like you to contact police to be cleared of suspicion.
Police suspect these boxes were targeted as large sources of personal information. Klang suggested the perpetrators likely chose the large blue dropboxes rather than stealing mail from individual residential boxes because it would require less work. As such, there was no way to prevent the theft.
The Pequot Lakes Police Department received reports of mail on a nearby road, but on response found no evidence of any mail. Reports of open mailboxes were also received, but there is no certainty whether these circumstances were connected.
Those who may have had their mail stolen from the Nisswa or Pequot Lakes post offices should monitor credit and bank accounts, and report potentially stolen mail to their local post office.
For those concerned about their own mail, Klang suggested, “Retrieve your mail as soon as you can, and use the dropbox inside the post offices to keep your mail secure.”
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who vandalized and stole mail from these collection boxes.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 (selection option 2), the Pequot Lakes Police Department at 218-568-8111 or the Nisswa Police Department at 218-963-4301.
All information will be kept strictly confidential, according to the postal service.
“It’s a work in progress until we exhaust all our leads or find the person responsible,” Klang said.