With a recent rash of mailbox break-ins that included two apartment complexes on Wednesday, Wichita police are warning residents not to put important outgoing mail in unsecure mailboxes.
There have been 25 separate incidents of mailbox break-ins across the city over the last month, Lt. Wanda Parker-Givens said. Six of those break-ins, which include multiple mailboxes, have come at three apartment complexes over the past 12 days.
“We’re seeing a crime trend,” Parker-Givens said. “We need people to be aware of any suspicious activity.”
Police encouraged people to use a postal mail drop box. If anyone sees non-postal vehicles stopping at mailboxes or is suspicious of someone going through mailboxes, they are asked to call 911.
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An arrest has been made in one of the thefts and police have identified suspects in two others, Parker-Givens said.
Over the last year, there have been nearly 200 mailbox break-ins, but the recent increase follows a seasonal pattern. Police say part of the reason for the break-ins may be thieves targeting tax refund checks.
MacArthur’s Lake Apartments, 727 MacArthur Road, and Remington Apartments, 7272 E. 37th St. North, were both hit early Wednesday morning, police said. Boxes were broken into at MacArthur’s about 1:30 a.m. and at Remington between 2:30 and 4 a.m., police said.
Theft also occurred at MacArthur’s Lake on April 16 and at Remington last Thursday or Friday.
The mail room at Eaglerock Village Apartment Complex, 7627 E. 37th St. North, was broken into early Sunday morning and during the weekend of April 13-14.
Although the Eaglerock and Remington complexes are close to each other, Parker-Givens emphasized the thefts were citywide.
One person is a suspect because he used a credit card stolen from a mailbox at a residence on the west side, she said.
An 18-year-old Wichita man has been arrested and charged in the April 16 thefts at MacArthur’s. A police incident report indicated payroll checks were involved in the theft.
The man has been charged in Sedgwick County District Court with six felony counts of forgery and one count of misdemeanor theft, district attorney spokesman Dan Dillon said.
Police are still investigating and trying to determine if any of the thefts are connected. Postal inspectors are helping with the investigation, Parker-Givens said.