Mounties are asking for the public's help to identify as many as five suspects following a series of mail thefts in Burnaby that police worry could lead to cases of identity theft and fraud.
In a statement issued Friday, the RCMP said the suspects gained access to hundreds of mailboxes and cleared them out minutes after getting into apartment buildings. Most of the incidents took place during the night over the past several weeks, according to authorities.
"With the information taken from your mail, thieves are using other sources of publicly available information such as social media to build a personal profile and commit further offences such as identity theft and fraud," the statement read.
The Burnaby RCMP's Prolific Offender Suppression Team, or POST, has taken over the investigation.
Police also released a video and several surveillance camera images of the suspects. Detectives say it's unclear if they were working together.
Anyone with information that could advance the investigation is asked to contact Mounties at 604-646-9999 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
In the meantime, police are offering the following in a bid to prevent similar crimes in the future:
- Pick up your mail daily. As you will see in the video posted above, despite these crimes taking place overnight, the majority of mailboxes still have mail in them.
- Have mail held or redirected if you are going to be away for any length of time, or have a trusted neighbour pick it up.
- Don’t let anyone in through the door that you don’t recognize as a resident.
- If you move, file a change of address with Canada Post as soon as possible.
- Report suspicious activity to police immediately.
If you are the victim of mail theft, consider contacting a Canadian credit bureau company to put a fraud alert on your credit report.