90 mailboxes tampered with overnight in Sierra Madre

SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) -- Sierra Madre residents were on high alert after about 90 mailboxes were tampered with overnight in one neighborhood.

A resident of one of the homes tucked into a Sierra Madre hillside noticed something strange when she took her dog for a walk around 7 a.m. Saturday morning - all of her neighbors' mailboxes were wide open.

"And when I came back to our mailbox, all three of them were open - because we have three homes on this little street - and ours has a lock on it and the lock had been broken," said Jacquie Pergola, a neighborhood resident.

Pergola called the police and officers started canvassing the northeast section of the town when they discovered about 90 mailboxes that were open.

Several people called police to report stolen mail or boxes that had been pried open.

"It was open and I just assumed the mailman left them all open," said Hilda Guzman, one of the theft victims. "I didn't know until I read what was going on."

Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said the criminals possibly struck overnight in search of gift cards, cash checks and personal information to use for identify theft.

Police believe the mailbox tampering may be linked to the suspects responsible for a series of package thefts that happened Friday night.

"Where people got deliveries sent to their homes and somebody walked up to the door, took their Christmas packages and fled," Giannone said.

Pergola felt the crimes committed came at a terrible time.

"I think it is Christmas time and people want to have something that they don't have and that's sad," she said.

Authorities urged the public to secure all of their mailboxes with locks, especially around the holidays.
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