Mailbox break-ins investigated
The Dalton Police Department received a report around 5:30 a.m. on Monday that the blue mail drop boxes outside the Main Street post office had been broken into.
"The doors were pried open," Dalton Chief John Bartels Jr. said yesterday.
He would not say whether the entire contents of the boxes had been taken, but he noted that "stuff was taken out of them."
Bartels said he later learned from Windsor Police Chief Peter Pyskaty that a similar incident had taken place at the post office on Main Street in Windsor. The chief could not be reached immediately for comment.
Because the post office is the property of the U.S. Postal Service, the investigation has been turned over to postal authorities.
Kenneth A. Walker, a postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Boston, said his agency is investigating the crimes. He believes there is a connection between the break-ins.
"This is a priority for us," he said. "It's a federal offense."
Walker said that theft of mail, whether one letter or dozens of envelopes, is a felony. Under the federal statute, anyone convicted of the crime can face a fine and up to five years in prison.
Bartels did note that, besides the postal box break-ins, someone also attempted to break into an automatic car wash deposit on North Street, which also is along the Route 9 corridor.
"I would think all three are connected. It's all too much of a coincidence," said Bartels.
The Dalton Police Department will continue to investigate the two Dalton incidents, while the postal inspection service will help out in both cases.
Walker said that anyone who deposited mail in any of the boxes after Saturday should check to see if their items were received.
"If their mail contained bank info or anything of a personal nature, they should take the appropriate steps to contact their financial institutions," he said
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