A recent surge in mail theft reached a peak Tuesday, when seven residents in south county reported their mail had been taken or opened.
The victims reported everything from stolen packages to finding mail scattered on the street and mail belonging to other people stuffed in their mailboxes, and even their newspaper stands.
In Lake of the Pines, a woman from the 13000 block of Robles Drive reported the mailboxes on her street had been opened and the mail had been scattered in front of a residence; and a caller from the 25000 block of Table Meadow Road reported mail theft.
In Alta Sierra, a woman from the 17000 block of Patricia Way reported her mailbox had been opened and her mail had been replaced with another person's opened mail; a caller from the 18000 block of Bambi Court reported mail and packages had been stolen and a caller from the 16000 block of Alioto Drive reported the theft of checks from the mail.
In the same area of the county, a caller from the 12000 block of Woodacre Road near Magnolia Road reported the theft of mail. In another call, a man reported he had mail in his newspaper stand that did not belong to him. In Alta Sierra Ranches, a man from the 18000 block of Wolf Creek Road reported his mail was stolen and he had empty envelopes.
This followed an increase in reported of vandalized mailboxes and stolen mail over the last few weeks, possibly due to the holiday season.
On Dec. 14, a caller from the 21000 block of Sky Pine Lakeview Lane reported vandalism to a bank of mailboxes and a woman from the 22000 block of Sunset Ridge Drive reported people had taken mail out of mailboxes during the night and thrown it on the ground.
On Dec. 17, a caller from the 22000 block of Cameo Drive reported vandalism of a mailbox, a woman from the 13000 block of Garden Bar Road reported her neighbor's mail had been stolen, and a caller from the 20000 block of Tiger Tail Road reported vandalism to a bank of mailboxes.
The next day, a caller from Wolf Road and Arbor Lane reported mailboxes had been smashed and the mail was missing, and residents of Tiger Tail and Tall Tree roads reported vandalism to a mailbox.
Saturday, a woman from the 17000 block of Del Mar Way reported the theft of packages from a porch.
"We've noticed an increase in activity, especially in the last couple of days," said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. "It's the time of year when people send cash or gifts through the mail."
There have been no witnesses to any of the incidents, he said.
Royal cautioned locals against putting checks, gifts or even bills with credit card information in unsecured mailboxes.
"Once you put that red flag up on your mailbox (for pickup), that sends a signal to the thieves," he said. "Drop off your mail in the blue postal receptacles."
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4229.