According to a recent piece I just read, stolen mail is a real, ongoing problem not only here in Illinois, but across the entire country. Mail theft costs Americans a crazy amount of money, and not many thieves are getting caught (but obviously some are).

Every blue mailbox has a key called an arrow key. Postal carriers use it to open blue boxes and large mailboxes in apartments or condo buildings. The same key opens everything across a particular zone.

"I think it's scary," a business owner said, "that one key can open all the mailboxes in any given zone." When CBS 2 began asking postal inspectors about theft, the conversation became repetitive, especially about Chicago-specific data CBS 2 received through the Freedom of Information Act.

CBS 2 found that the agency hadn't been keeping track of arrow key thefts until 2021, according to the USPIS data obtained by CBS Chicago.

USPIS data shows 16,000 theft reports in Chicago between January 2020 and March 2023. They've investigated 77 and made 36 arrests.

Thief is stealing other people's mail at night
Getty Images

Not Everyone Who Steals Mail Is Going To Get Away With It, As Some Illinois Mail-Thieves Recently Found Out

According to published reports, Palos Heights police got numerous calls in December and January about mail being stolen from mailboxes around town. While investigating the mail thefts, the Palos Heights Police Department discovered that the thieves were using information they got from stolen mail to steal identities, forge and deposit checks, and use credit/debit cards they stole to make purchases at multiple retail spots.

Here's a better shot, since one of the alleged mail thieves had half their face cut off in the photo above:

Palos Heights Police Department, Facebook
Palos Heights Police Department, Facebook

Kudos To The Palos Park Police Department For Not Only Catching The Bad Guys, But Also For Going Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty

How did they go above and beyond? Palos Park Police officers then hand-delivered the previously undelivered mail to the people who were supposed to get it before it was stolen.

The morning of Jan. 30, police said Roth and Scanlon were taken into custody. Officers said they recovered garbage bags full of stolen, undelivered mail in Roth’s apartment and in the pair’s vehicles. Buttron was taken into custody at his mobile home the next day at his mobile home in Worth.

All three allegedly confessed to their role in the criminal enterprise and were released without being charged the dates of their arrest, pending further evidence.

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