An investigation is under way to find the responsible parties that vandalized mailboxes in three Nikiski neighborhoods last week. U.S. Postal mailboxes in the Holt Lamplight, Island Lake and Halbouty Road neighborhoods were vandalized, with the most serious occurring in the Halbouty Road neighborhood. A cluster box with more than 10 mailboxes was uprooted and stolen altogether, said Alaska State Trooper investigating officer David Chaffin.
"The biggest concern here is the sensitive information going through the mail," Chaffin said. "All it takes is one theft for someone to lose a lot of personal information."
Halbouty resident Kay Shearer said she only had one day's worth of mail in her box.
"I don't know what the others have done, we haven't had a meeting yet. We're all still kind of in shock," Shearer said.
This is not the first time mailboxes have been vandalized in her neighborhood.
"The reason we got a cluster box was because kids were vandalizing mailboxes with baseball bats," she said. "That's why we got the cluster box - and it's supposed to be secure,"
Chaffin said most of the mail has been recovered from the other two neighborhoods, but with the cluster box from Halbouty being completely removed, he thinks it was someone more serious than a bunch of kids.
"We're still actively investigating, could be kids, might not be," he said. "Based on the manner they broke in, it was most likely someone pretty committed to stealing mail than someone just being opportunistic."
Since the cluster box is gone, Halbouty residents have to scramble to find alternative means of receiving their mail. Shearer said mail can only be held at the Nikiski Post Office for a short period of time.
"We have to decide if we want another cluster box, or mail boxes, or P.O. boxes, so that means changing our addresses and everything, it's a hassle," she said.
Shearer had advice for residents in other neighborhoods so this type of theft could be prevented.
"Be on the lookout for someone that's around their mailboxes late at night. Not many people are retrieving their mail late at night," she said. "Report them, the troopers say any lead is a good lead, they want you to call them."
Chaffin echoed Shearer's thoughts.
"We're asking the public to be extra vigilant. We as troopers can't be everywhere at once. If the public sees anything suspicious call us right away," Chaffin said. "We'd rather respond to something and have it be nothing than not get a call and have it turn into something significant."
If you have any information about the vandalism contact Alaska State Troopers in Soldotna at 262-4453.