SAN JOSE (KRON) -- Stealing United States mail is a federal offense, but such thefts are on the rise as mail delivery trucks are being targeted.
The most-recent cases have happened in San Jose.
The postal service is offering a $10,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for burglarizing four mail trucks in San Jose in the past two months.
In the most recent thefts, on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, postal service trucks have been burglarized while the letter carrier was away making house-to-house deliveries.
"That's what appears to be happening," U.S. Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch said. "They park the vehicle, and when they come back, they find it has been broken into."
About 350 customers in the area surrounding Lincoln and Michigan avenues got letters from the post office alerting them of the thefts.
Residents are advised to be vigilant concerning the possibility that credit card and other information may have been compromised.
"Absolutely [it is concerning], especially that it's the trucks that are being hit as opposed to the mailboxes," postal customer Natalie Mathison said. "That's a lot of mail and packages that could be compromised."
Letter carriers receive security training and are never away from their trucks for long, but inspectors may be conducting surveillance amid a recent rise in mail thefts--and not just from delivery trucks.
"Right now, we're seeing an uptick in mail thefts statewide, and we're seeing break-ins in the cluster boxes at the end of driveways as well," Fitch said.
The postal service did not disclose the locations of the earlier thefts.
A spokesman said inspectors are actively investigating all four cases and have asked people to report anything unusual.
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