Huntington Beach Hit With a Rash of Mail Thefts

Thieves seen stealing mail at homes in Orange County

Thieves casing Huntington Beach homes have been caught red-handed stealing mail out of mailboxes and packages from residents’ door steps. Police in Huntington Beach said there have been three incidents in about 24 hours.

Huntington Beach resident Niko Takahashi has placed cameras around his home, under the eaves and above the garage. They are in plain view and that is why he finds it strange that his home would be targeted.

“I was expecting mail, a package,” said Takahashi. “I came home and it wasn’t there.”

Takahashi, an electrical engineer, has rigged $30 cameras to a computer, which can record around the clock for 30 days. But it also has an alarm attached.

“Every time it senses motion, it takes a shot and sends it to me by email,” he said.

On his March 20 tape, he saw the U.S. mail carrier delivering a few letters and two packages to his front door. But that afternoon, he saw a stranger walking up to his front door, opening his mailbox, and leaning down to take those packages.

The cameras also caught the suspect pulling into his driveway.

"That’s a tactic criminals use to try to fit in to the neighborhood, so they look like they’re comfortable in that environment,” said Lt. Brian Seitz, Huntington Beach Police Department.

Since then, Takahashi has replaced his mailbox with a sign that warns he is filming 24 hours a day. He has also added a mail slot to his garage door. He said many of his neighbors are now locking their mailboxes.

Postal officials said that if the suspect is caught, he could face five years in prison.

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