US Postal Inspectors are working to find the people responsible for dumping two bins of stolen mail in a townhome complex dumpster. A resident of the Willow Run Townhome complex on Perry Road near Windfern spotted the discarded mail Thursday morning and immediately notified management.
Head of maintenance John Lester fished all of the stolen mail out of the trash and secured it in the complexes' office while waiting for a postal employee to arrive.
“I was wondering what is this, where did it come from, who did this?” said Lester.
Among the stolen correspondence were sensitive legal documents from multiple law firms, including a last will and testament, wedding announcements, birthday and thank you cards, packages, documents with personal information and two absentee ballots.
“All of it was opened and dumped,” said Lester.
One absentee ballot, bound for Baton Rouge, was open and showing a vote for President Donald Trump. A second ballot did not appear to be opened and was being sent to an address in California.
“It’s very concerning," said Lester.
When a postal employee arrived to secure the mail, he was overheard telling a colleague it was “raw mail.”
The employee could not speak with KPRC because he was not authorized to speak with the media. While the mail was in white Postal Service bins, it did not appear any of the mail had been postmarked yet.
Complex security cameras show two men driving a dark 4-door sedan into the complexes' public parking lot around 3:30 a.m. Thursday and dumping what appeared to be the two white postal bins into a dumpster that is outside the complexes' security gates. A license plate could not be seen and both individuals had their faces covered with “hoodies.”
The footage from the complexes' cameras can be seen in the video above.
An official with the US Postal Inspection Service tells KPRC mail was stolen from blue drop-off boxes at the TW House Post Office on West 19th street, 12 miles away from the complex.
However, an employee from the Guess Law Firm collected some of the legal documents prior to the postal employee arriving. That woman said the documents found in the trash had been left Wednesday evening at the post office on Timmons Lane near Lakewood Church, off Highway 59 inside 610 Loop.
In an email to KPRC, a spokesperson for the Guess Law Firm confirmed the mail was left at that location.
Postal Inspector and Public Information Officer Sylvia Torres released this statement regarding the stolen mail:
Postal Inspectors responded to a report of stolen mail found dumped at 11240 Perry Rd., Houston, TX. Inspectors have reviewed surveillance images of two suspects dumping stolen mail into a dumpster at that location. Inspectors have recovered and are reviewing the mail.
Inspectors spoke with at least one victim, who stated they deposited their mail piece last night into the blue USPS collection box outside the T.W. House post office located at 1300 W. 19th St., Houston, TX 77008. At this time, it is unknown if the mail was taken from any other locations. If any customers placed mail into the collection box outside T.W. House post office last night, Inspectors urge them to file a report with the USPIS by calling our hotline at 877-876-2455 and saying “Theft,” or by visiting our website at www.uspis.gov/report.
The recovered mail included two ballots. Postal Inspectors are working to identify those victims and will work swiftly with the local election commission to ensure any affected election mail is routed to the appropriate party. If you believe your mail-in ballot may have been impacted by this incident, please contact your local election office to confirm receipt and identify options for tracking your ballot.
While the U.S. Mail continues to be one of the safest methods of transmitting information and goods, mail theft does occur. However, there are steps postal customers can take to minimize becoming a victim. Don’t let incoming sit in your mailbox. Postal Inspectors recommend checking your mailbox every day and removing your mail as promptly as possible. The longer your mail stays in the mailbox, the more susceptible it is to theft. There are some steps that customers can take to maintain the safety of their outgoing mail. Customers can place their mail into the mail slot inside the lobby of their local post office. They can also place it into an official blue USPS collection box BEFORE the last collection time, which is displayed on the box.
For more information on how the Postal Inspection Service is helping to protect your election mail, visit our website: www.uspis.gov/election-mail-security/.