HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Postal Service has a warning for Hawaii residents: Thieves are using rat traps to steal mail from its blue collection mailboxes.
Postal inspectors say there have been several reports on Oahu of individuals dropping sticky items -- like rat traps -- into the blue boxes and then pulling them back out with some sort of string.
"They're using a number of different ways to get at the boxes, using different devices to get stuff out of the boxes. Sometimes we discover these instruments these individuals are trying to use, so we know that there's been potential compromise," said Jeff Fitch, U.S. postal inspector.
Fitch said the postal service is looking at ways to better protect their customers and property.
"We put different things inside the boxes that work to make the boxes more secure. We are assessing security and we're looking at upgrading security in places," he said.
The news surprises people who often drop their mail in the blue boxes. Some say they'll now take their bills and important documents into the post office or hand it directly to their neighborhood mail carrier.
"It's more comforting for us knowing our bills are going to get where they need to go," said customer Adam Tamashiro.
"We'll definitely drop it off in the inside now, now that we know what's going on. Feels more secure," said customer Schyler Murakami.
Stealing mail is a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The postal service encourages the public to report any suspicious activity or information about possible mail theft to its 24-hour hotline at (877) 876-2455.
"We have a standing $10,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of individuals involved in mail theft," Fitch said.