Postal mailboxes to be replaced in Columbus after string of thefts

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 11:35 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New postal service boxes are headed to our area after a string of mail thefts in Columbus. This comes 24 hours after a retired mailman says he and his wife lost $4,000 after two of their checks were stolen.

Curtis Mansell is not 100% convinced the problem is solved. He says he’s happy there’s a local investigator assigned to his case now, but he’s still worried others may be targeted.

Last week, Mansell says his wife drove to Columbus to buy groceries. Mansell says his wife dropped off a letter with four checks inside a blue postal service box on Schomburg Rd without second-guessing. Within days, Mansell noticed two checks with different amounts listed on their bank account.

“This is a physical letter that was opened, the check changed and somehow or another deposited electronically,” said Mansell.

A copy of that check shows it was written to Zion James Hall, who the couple claim they do not know. The new amount written on both checks is $1,990.

Mansell says Synovus told him he would receive a refund Friday. Instead, after doing an interview Thursday, Mansell heard back from the post office.

“They told me something that I didn’t know that there. People have been stealing mail using mousetraps. They stick them in the front, and they go down here click and then pull it back up,” said Mansell.

Mansell says the post office also claims other thieves break into the boxes using certain tools. The latest theft comes more than a month after several postal boxes were taped up across the city after an increase in mail thefts. At the time, Columbus police said the crime had happened twice a month since January.

Columbus resident Susan Gouveia says she knew about the thefts, but it has not stopped her from using the postal boxes.

“It’s just convenient for anybody, just on their way home, to drop their mail off,” said Gouveia. “But you’re kind of scared -- do I want to drop it off? Are those checks going to get to where they’re going?”

She says she’s happy to hear the postal service is working to replace certain postal boxes.

“That’s great. I will definitely be using it more often ‘cus there are times when I do have time, and I go inside,” said Gouveia.

In a statement to News Leader 9, Debra Fetterly, USPS Spokesperson for the Georgia Districts, says,

“Any time we are made aware of damage to our blue collection boxes, we take immediate steps to make repairs or provide a replacement box as quickly as possible. Any boxes that have been covered likely sustained damage, and mail could not be securely deposited...”

Debra Fetterly, USPS Spokesperson for the Georgia Districts

USPS says customers who suspect mail theft or vandalism of a collection box, should contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

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