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Mail thefts have been reported around the Charlotte area. There are ways to deter thieves

In some cases the suspects are caught on home video surveillance, and police are encouraging everyone to report the crime if it happens to them.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The search is on for the people accused of stealing from mailboxes in neighborhoods across the greater Charlotte area.

Some of the theft reports date back from the early fall to just a few days ago as the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) says they are investigating multiple cases in both Charlotte and Belmont.

That includes the case of the Hensley family. Chris Hensley, the father, said they had just put an outgoing letter in the mailbox overnight with plans to send it to a child they sponsor in Africa. But the letter never made it.

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“The next morning, ours and all the other mailboxes here in our cul-de-sac were open," Hensley said. “It's frustrating that someone would do that and it was meaningful for us and our pen pal.”

Many of the mail thefts were caught on camera by home surveillance video. You can see the suspect drive up, stop, and check inside each of the mailboxes in the neighborhood looking for anything to steal.

"It's a violation," Hensley said.

To help keep your mail better protected from thieves, tools like mailbox locks are recommended.

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“It probably would deter somebody," Lowe's assistant manager Patrick Lewlor said. "If I tried to get in there, you could see when you go to pull it there’s nowhere to get it open unless you have the key.”

Investigators are encouraging anyone impacted by the suspected mail thieves to report it to police and USPIS to allow an increased chance of potentially catching the suspects involved.

USPIS also shared more safety tips to help keep your mail and packages protected from thieves.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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