Laird Rose went out to check his mail Wednesday night and noticed something wasn’t right: the long row of community mail boxes in his northeast Wichita cul de sac was open.
“I talked to the mailman,” said Rose, who lives north of 21st and Rock Road. “He told me when he came (Wednesday) morning, they had been broken into.
“There was no vandalism,” said Rose, who doesn’t think he lost any mail in the break-in. “They had a key or something.”
That cul de sac was one of several areas in Wichita in which community mailboxes were targeted by one or more thieves, police say.
“We’ve got a bunch of ’em,” Lt. Joe Schroeder said.
The bulk of the incidents occurred Tuesday and Wednesday, Schroeder said. The thieves were obviously looking for checks they could cash or other mail containing credit cards or debit cards of some sort.
In some cases, he said, little or no mail was taken.
Among the areas hit were the 9100 block of East Elm, the 10200 block of East Shadybrook and the 10200 block of East Peppertree. That section of Elm is near Central and Webb Road. Shadybrook and Peppertree are near 21st and Webb.
One person reported seeing someone trying to pry open mailboxes with a screwdriver while a second person – possibly a woman – waited in a nearby vehicle, according to a police document.
Schroeder encouraged residents to keep a close eye on their mailbox.
“If you see someone who doesn’t belong there, call 911 and let us know,” he said. “You never know when you call what it might lead to.”
Laird said residents of his development have been told they need to collect their mail at the Corporate Hills post office until the community mail boxes are repaired.
He is encouraging his neighbors to check with the senders of anticipated letters or packages to find out whether they’ve been delivered. That will help them figure out whether something has been stolen.
This recent rash of mailbox break-ins may be linked to numerous similar cases in Sedgwick County recently, Schroeder said.
About a dozen mailboxes were broken into in northeast Sedgwick County early last month, authorities have said.