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Hamburg Police provide advice in wake of mail thefts

Town of Hamburg Police are investigating thefts from 3 or 4 mailboxes. Thieves are then altering checks to steal money from people.

HAMBURG, N.Y. — Town of Hamburg Police are investigating a handful of mailbox thefts and are warning people not to leave their outgoing mail in their mailboxes at home with the flags up.

Thursday, Hamburg Police posted on Facebook asking people to avoid putting their outgoing mail in their mailboxes with the flags up. Recently, thieves have been stealing it. Word is still getting out about the thefts.

"I've never heard that it's been stolen out of the mailboxes," Susan Santandreu said.

"I think it's horrible. I mean, I've lived here my whole life and we've always put mail in the mailbox and never thought twice about it. So, yeah, it's disturbing," Roberta Brocki said.

Town of Hamburg Police are working on three or four cases right now where someone stole mail right out of residential mailboxes. It's happening to people who put their red flags up. Police think a ring of thieves is responsible.

"The people who are stealing the mail are taking the checks and altering them, wiping out certain information and then putting new numbers in, much larger numbers, and they are taking these checks and going to the City of Buffalo and getting other people to try and cash those checks," said Detective Bill Stowell with the Town of Hamburg Police Department.

The United State Postal Service suggests you do one of three things. Put your mail in one of the blue mailboxes, go to the post office, or just hand your mail to your letter carrier.

"I don't want people to be paranoid about this going on in the neighborhoods. Obviously, some people, especially the elderly, still use stamps and mail letters out traditionally instead of using the online billing, which a lot of people do now. Again, I would just say, you know, be aware that it's going on and talk to your neighbors and your family members that may be using it traditionally," Det. Stowell said.

Det. Stowell says there are also reports of the same thing happening in the Village of Hamburg and the Town of Evans, so if you see any suspicious cars with people checking out mailboxes, especially if you see people taking stuff out of them, call police.

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