Post office burglarized

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 19, 2007

NATCHEZ — Rain and snow might not stop the mail, but it appears burglars can.

When postal workers came to the Natchez post office Wednesday morning, they found someone had pried open parcel lockers in the lobby and stolen packages, Postmaster Bill Farrior said.

The post office puts packages too large to fit in post office boxes into lockers in the lobby. They then leave the key to that locker in the customer’s box.

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“About 9 a.m., when we went to put parcels in the lockers, we realized every one of them had been popped open with some sort of tool,” Farrior said.

Someone had come in during the night, broken in, and taken parcels, which included hardcover books and checks, he said.

This isn’t the first burglary, though, he said. Over the last few weeks, someone has removed the glass fronts from a dozen post office boxes.

“Glass was all over the floor,” Farrior said. “We don’t know whether they took anything out of them.”

The post office lobby is open 24 hours a day so customers can mail letters and pick up mail from post office boxes.

Now, the state postal inspector has advised them to close the lobby when the main office closes, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“It’s been that way (open 24 hours) forever,” he said. “We never closed it. In fact, we had a hard time finding the key to lock everything.

“If we found out who did it, the problem would be solved, and we could go back to the 24-hour deal,” Farrior said. “(Meanwhile), it’s just going to be an inconvenience for everybody.”

Stealing or tampering with mail is a federal offense, Farrior said.

Natchez Police Department’s Sgt. Craig Godbold said the department was investigating the situation.

“If people see suspicious subjects walking around at night who look out of place, give the police a call and let us know,” Godbold said.

Anyone with information should call the Natchez Police Department at 601-445-5565 or the post office at 601-442-4362.