Mail stolen from mailboxes was found discarded in California this week, law enforcement officials said.
Deputies with the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department were alerted by a member of the public on Wednesday morning about the recovery of discarded mail, including voter ballots, the department said in a statement.
The discarded mail was found in two places: in the 65000 block of Winters Road in Joshua Tree and in the 6500 block of Encelia Avenue in the city of Twentynine Palms.
All the mail was stolen from a cluster of mailboxes on Reche Road in Landers.
The recovered mail was returned to the local postmaster for delivery.
“Deputies have contacted all residents with mailboxes in the area where the theft originated and found no additional victims. Based upon the investigation, it appears the suspect(s) were targeting incoming mail,” the department stated.
“Typically suspect(s) target personal information contained within the unsecured mailboxes to commit identity theft and fraud. It is not suspected voter ballots were specifically targeted during the thefts. The case is being forwarded to the United States Postal Inspector for further investigation into the thefts.”
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service didn’t return a request for comment.
The service is the federal law enforcement, crime prevention, and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Residents of San Bernardino County were told to monitor their mailboxes because the Nov. 3 presidential elections are looming and ballots are being sent out.
A USPS mail carrier was arrested in New Jersey this week for allegedly dumping mail, including 99 ballots.
Residents should report any suspicious behavior they see around mailboxes.
U.S. postal inspectors recommend people retrieve their mail as soon as possible after it is delivered and not leaving mail in their mailbox for extended periods, or even overnight.
If people cannot do so, they are encouraged to consider installing a lockable mailbox or obtaining a P.O. Box.
Anyone with information related to the California investigation was asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Morongo Basin Station at (760)366-4175. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact We-Tip at 1-888-78-CRIME.
Twentynine Palms is approximately 141 miles east of Los Angeles in Southern California. It is adjacent to Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms are a drive of about 30 minutes from Landers.