HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - One of the two blue mail collection boxes in front of the Moiliili post office station has been stolen.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said the large collection box closest to the entrance was taken sometime between noon on the Veterans Day holiday, when the post office was closed, and 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Jonathan Heraux was one of the last people to use the box.
“Basically on Veterans Day I came to mail some packages,” he said. “I put ten packages in the box, but then it turns out that I had forgotten one package.”
Heraux returned to the post office Thursday morning, and found screws sticking out of the concrete where the box had been.
“Somebody had actually, physically, stolen the entire box."
“It’s a relatively rare crime, although we have seen it,” said Postal Inspector Brian Shaughnessy. “And unfortunately thieves will often go to great lengths to steal from Postal Service customers.”
Shaughnessy said mail theft is typically fueled by drug addiction.
“They’re typically after anything of value, including checks, cash of course, income tax refunds and documents, credit and debit cards -- any documents containing personal identifying information,” including social security numbers and bank account numbers, he said.
About four years ago, several of the big blue boxes were stolen from difference post offices around Oahu, including Waipahu and Kapolei. In that case, thieves were caught and prosecuted.
Shaughnessy said stealing a U.S. Postal Service collection box is a serious federal felony, punishable by up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000.
The Honolulu office of the Postal Inspection Service is also offering a reward of up to $10,00 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Tipsters can remain anonymous. The number to call with tips is (808) 837-2970.
Shaughnessy also said anyone who placed mail into the collection box between noon Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. Thursday can contact the postal inspection service at (877) 876-2455 to file a complaint. Customers should also contact the individuals they were mailing to advise them of the situation.
As for Heraux, U.S. Postal Service tracking showed that his packages were picked up from the box at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“My stuff made it out, and due to technology I found out where they are and where they’re going,” he said.