ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Residents of an Albuquerque neighborhood woke up Christmas morning to an unpleasant surprise. They found their community mailbox had been pried open and broken into.
“I think people were pretty shocked,” said neighbor Joanne Majka.
Neighbors were also shocked when they actually saw it play out.
“I just felt like they knew what they were doing,” said Majka.
A neighbor’s surveillance camera caught the crooks in action. It shows a car pull up to the box and then a group of people get out. In less than three minutes, they break into the mailbox and take off.
“They had to have had a crowbar or something the way it was bent,” said Majka.
After the thieves broke in, neighbors decided to fight back.
Neighbor Russell Smith printed warning signs for the crooks and taped them on the mailbox. One of the signs posted reminded the thieves they’re under surveillance. Another reminds them what’s at stake.
“Tampering with mail will get you a new home and hard time,” said Smith.
Smith said this isn’t only a problem on his street. He’s heard it has been happening all over the neighborhood.
“Around here, I’d say we’ve had no less than 10 or 12 sets of cluster boxes broken into,” said Smith.
Neighbors said it’s a crime that makes them feel helpless.
“It’s kind of a damper on Christmas with it all going on,” said Majka.
Also this week, a couple was busted while trying to steal mail in the Placitas area.