2 men accused in more than half of Saskatoon's recent break-ins, mail theft: police

Saskatoon police say two men have been charged with more than half of the break-ins and mail thefts that happened in the city in November and December.

Mail thieves targeted apartments and condos in November and December, police say

Police say two men have been charged with more than half of the break-ins and mail thefts reported in the city in November and December. (Idil Mussa/CBC News)

Saskatoon police say two men have been charged with more than half of the break-ins and mail thefts reported in the city in November and December — and police believe the suspects may be responsible for even more.

Two 28-year-old men were arrested last week and are facing multiple charges, including break and enter and possession of break-and-enter tools. One of the men was charged with 14 counts of breaking and entering.

Randy Huisman, police inspector in charge of Saskatoon's central division, said mail theft involves a pattern of behaviour, which helped them identify the suspects in this case. He said the men who were arrested have committed this crime before.

"We've identified a number of individuals in Saskatoon that have done this in the past and we've charged them.… So when we get a spike in theft of mail, we tend to start looking at who's out of jail, who has done this in the past?"

Targeted apartments and condos

He said mail theft is usually committed as means to carry out identity fraud. Mail thieves will look for names, phone numbers and credit card numbers — anything that will help them apply for a credit card under someone else's name.

In this case, the thieves targeted older apartments and condominiums in Saskatoon's downtown and City Park areas with outdated mailboxes.

If you're a tenant of an apartment building that has a poorly secured mailbox system, you should be talking to your landlord and the building owner about providing property security for you.- Randy Huisman, Saskatoon Police Service

"Usually these older ones aren't designed secure enough — they've got poor locking mechanisms on them," Huisman said.

"[Thieves] pry open the front of it and it opens up all the unit's mail."

He said in some old apartment buildings, the mailboxes have been pried open so many times without being repaired that they're bent out of shape.

"If you're a tenant of an apartment building that has a poorly secured mailbox system, you should be talking to your landlord and the building owner about providing property security for you."

Theft ofmail vs. theftfrom mail

All of the latest reported cases involved private group mailboxes, not Canada Post community mailboxes.

"Those are a lot more secure — they got better locking mechanisms," Huisman said.

As well, with those boxes, mail is "considered 'not delivered' until the recipient goes into it and takes their mail out," he said.

But, he said, mail is considered to be delivered "once Canada Post puts it into the apartment building or condominiums' mailboxes, because that's a privately owned locking box."

If mail is stolen from a Canada Post mailbox — where it's still considered not delivered — it's called theft "from" mail.

If it's stolen from a private mailbox, it's called theft "of" mail, and is a different charge.

Huisman said incidents of theft from mail are rare, but when they do happen, the police will work in conjunction with Canada Post.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca