By Victoria Metcalf
Special to Plumas News
“This is a straight-up Christmas crook,” said Plumas County Sheriff’s Commander Carson Wingfield on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
He was referring to a rash of mailbox and package box break-ins at the U.S. Post Office in Quincy.
Someone is prying open mailboxes and removing the key and yellow card indicating there’s a package, according to Postmaster Sandy Rose about what is happening. With the key available, they’re opening boxes meant for smaller packages and taking them.
“It looks like possibly six boxes,” Sheriff Todd Johns said about entries into postal boxes.
They also arrived at the Will Call window last Saturday, and talked their way into receiving larger packages, Rose said.
And of course, they’re wearing masks, Rose pointed out — and when everyone is wearing a mask it’s even more difficult to identify specific people. And there’s no sudden suspicion alert.
Plumas County resident Susan Scarlett is one victim of the mail theft crimes. When she arrived at the front desk to pick up a package, she learned there was another earlier one. Apparently the couple calmly explained they’d been asked to pick up the parcel. Scarlett hadn’t sent anyone in to get her packages.
What is known, is that this appears to be a young couple working together, Rose said.
Wingfield said there does seem to be a certain amount of sophistication behind the thefts. He doesn’t think this is a run-of-the-mill team at work.
Sheriff’s Deputy Crissy Ross is placed in charge of the investigation, according to Johns.
What the local postmaster is doing is sending reports about the thefts to headquarters to be tracked. Rose said the volume of thefts has to hit a certain dollar amount and become a felony before they take an active role.
There also appears to be a problem with some of the mail. According to an incident report from the sheriff’s office last week, some mail was discovered at Oakland Camp off Chandler Road near Quincy.
What the postal service and sheriff’s officers usually encounter this time of year are mail thefts from rural route box holders.
This “can really put a sting in what’s to be a joyous season,” Rose said. “Somebody’s Grinchy enough to do this.”