An entire street in one Brandon community may have fell victim to thieves snatching mail out of their mailboxes at precisely the worst time: tax season.
One of the homeowners caught the thieves on surveillance video early on a recent Sunday morning. The video shows the headlights, and then a car creeping along and stopping at the mailbox.
“They just come driving by checking peoples mailboxes, for anything that’s in there,” said the homeowner, who asked not to be identified because he’s afraid for his safety.
What he and others in the Spanish Oaks neighborhood are most concerned about are important tax documents landing in the wrong hands.
The Nadal brothers, who live next door, are still trying to figure out what they lost.
“We have no idea if they got any of my W-2’s or any of my tax information that may have come from my old job,” said Bob Nadal.
The United States Postal Inspection Service is now investigating the incident and reviewing the surveillance tape.
To better protect yourself, they recommend to get your mail immediately and definitely don’t leave it out overnight.
Also, investigators say forget about the red flag — there’s no real use for it because all it does is notify everyone else that there’s mail in there and most of the time it involves a check.
Besides, the letter carrier will notice the piece of mail needing to be sent when they open the box.
In the case in Brandon, the homeowner went the extra mile.
“Cost me a $150 bucks, but I went down and got me a locking mailbox,” he said.
Costly, but it may be worth it when you consider what could fall into the wrong hands.
“I was waiting on a credit card that I never did receive,” said Eric Nadal. “I just ordered a new one to a different address just to be safe.”
If anyone has any information on this theft, or recognizes the car in the surveillance video, you’re asked to call the Tampa office of the US Postal Inspection Service at (813) 281-5228.