Thieves target mailboxes on Lurline Drive

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Jul 08 2013 05:52:00 PM HST

Stealing from mailboxes -- a crime that is all too common in Hawaii. Maunalani Heights is the latest community to get hit.

HONOLULU -

Stealing from mailboxes is a federal crime that is all too common in Hawaii. The latest community to get hit is Maunalani Heights which overlooks Kaimuki and Waialae.

When picking a place to steal from, crooks may have taken a wrong turn. Residents of Maunalani Heights are proud of their neighborhood watch program. While it's not bulletproof, they say it has led to arrests.

"We have a lot of people with their Web cameras up in places that most people would not be aware, so chances are if you come up on Maunalani Heights, you're going to get caught," said a resident who did not want to be identified.

They're hoping history repeats itself and an arrest will be made in connection with last week's mail theft. Residents say that's when two men driving a silver Toyota Corolla on Lurline Drive were seen looking into mailboxes. We're told a resident later walked up to the car and saw a book of photos in the backseat.

"Apparently there were photographs of people's homes in the back of the car," said a resident.

They believe the suspects were using those photos to choose which homes mailboxes to hit, but residents say the thieves were misguided. Maunalani Heights has 500 people in its neighborhood watch and is linked with neighborhood watches in Manoa and other communities.

Once a crime is reported, all communities connected are informed to be on the lookout. Residents want more of Oahu to get on board.

"If other neighborhood watches can team together and link together, the chances of finding these people are pretty good," said a resident.

Residents admit their neighborhood watch may not have all the answers against crime, but it does have a message for anyone planning it.

"Don't come to Maunalani Heights," laughed a resident.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service could not confirm this specific case but it does offer a $10,000 reward leading to the arrests and convictions of mail thieves.

If convicted, a person can face a penalty of five years in jail per piece of stolen mail.

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