Stolen mail ends up in storm drains in St. Augustine neighborhood

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — St. Johns County deputies are working to learn who is stealing mail from a neighborhood in St. Augustine and trashing it in storm drains and gutters.

Deputies learned of the issue from a woman who saw the mail while walking her dog on Garrison Drive.

“Three different addresses on Garrison Drive that this mail originated from and we returned the mail to those individuals,” Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, said.

Mulligan said the mail didn’t appear to have been opened.

As deputies were checking out the storm drain Tuesday, another neighbor alerted them to a second storm drain that had mail in it.

“This mail did in fact have some information that had their financial and personal info in it. That too was discarded and did not appear to be opened,” Mulligan said.

Neighbor Jerry Bowers just heard the news Wednesday.

“It’s something that happens. I don’t know how you can control it,” he said.

Right now, it’s unclear who is behind the thefts.

“We don’t know if what we are looking at is juveniles thinking this is funny or if we have someone who is looking for particular types of mail,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan said it’s important to be alert if you’re expecting important documents and that even credit offers can make you vulnerable to identity theft.

“Someone could take that, send that in under your account information, credit information, but change the address so that the credit cards or the bills go to the address so you’ll never know that it was created,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan also said to consider locked mail boxes.

“If it’s more secure, then so be it. I know they do that in new houses,” Bowers said.

Stealing mail is a federal crime. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is working with the U.S. Postal Service, which may open its own investigation.

Deputies are also working to look through surveillance video that may have captured the suspect dumping the mail in the drains.