USPS collection box

In this photo posted by White Oak Police Department on Nov. 28, police said items were taken from the United State Postal Office collection box at the White Oak Post Office sometime between 3 p.m. Nov. 27 and 7 a.m. Nov. 28.

The U.S. Postal Service is investigating reports of vandalism of several mail collection boxes in the Longview area during the past two weeks.

Amanda McMurrey, a postal inspection/public information officer at the Fort Worth Division of the U.S. Postal Service, would not say how many boxes were vandalized, identify their locations or say how many collection boxes are in the area.

The White Oak Police Department, however, recently reported on its Facebook page that a box in front of the White Oak Post Office was broken into.

McMurrey also said the Postal Service does not know whether any mail has been stolen in the Longview-area incidents.

“We are not going to know for sure if somebody stole or not because people will have to tell us,” she said.

McMurrey said collection box break-ins are not any more common during the holiday period — when customers are more likely to send packages — than during other times of the year.

Vandalism is not limited to Longview, she said.

“We have (vandalism) throughout the country,” she said.

McMurrey said she understands the Postal Service will repair damaged collection boxes and return them to their locations if they can be fixed. If not, collection boxes will be replaced.

The Postal Service arrested 2,487 people nationally for mail theft, McMurry said, which included from homes and collection boxes, in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2017. That is up slightly from 2,437 arrests in the previous fiscal year.

Anyone who is convicted faces a maximum of five years in prison per stolen item, she said.

McMurrey said the Postal Service “has a variety of prevention methods that we are not at liberty to discuss,” just like she would not expect homeowners to divulge their home security measures.

The Postal Service offers rewards as high as $5,000 to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person stealing mail, she said.