Arlington residents on alert, after rash of mailbox thefts and car prowls

ARLINGTON - Residents in the Gleneagle neighborhood are on alert. They say car prowls and mail thefts are on the rise.

Tonya James doesn't take any chances when it comes to her mail. After being the victim of theft a few years ago, she invested in a locking mailbox.

“We had someone steal our mail. It was a year later the police sent us what was left over. Someone had ransacked through,” she says.

James isn't the only alone. HOA president John Branthoover says mail thieves are often looking for personal financial information.

“Credit cards, checkbooks, whatever they can get their hands on,” he says.

“The gal across the street, she had checks that they washed and put a larger amount,” adds James.

This week, Arlington police sent out a warning after they found piles of discarded mail near some of the boxes in the neighborhood. They say they're working with the post office to make sure everything found is delivered to the right owners, but they want everyone to keep their eyes open. Branthoover says there already is an active neighborhood watch program.

“These crimes according to the police department are happening between 1 and 3 in the morning. Our patrols aren't generally out at that hour.”

Police say they’re increasing their patrols, because car prowls are also on the rise. They’re reminding everyone to make sure their car doors are locked, even if they're parked in their driveways or in front of their homes.

James says getting a mailbox with a lock is also a good idea, even if it costs a little bit more.

“We paid like a hundred or so dollars. But it has given me more peace of mind.”

Police say upgrading to a locked mailbox is a good idea now, since cases of mail and package thefts become more common as it gets closer to the holiday season.