CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Crooks look through mailboxes overnight in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield police say there's an uptick in mail theft. It happened in a southwest Springfield neighborhood early Saturday morning, and a homeowner caught it on camera.

"Stealing from a mailbox is an easy crime," said Brianna Rosselit.

Rosselit and her family have lived in the Parkwest area of Springfield since this summer. Early Saturday morning, around 1:15 a.m., her dog was barking. So Rosselit checked her home security camera.

"It ended up being a minivan driving down our street, opening up all the mailboxes on the south side of the road," she said.

Rosselit called police, who said they would patrol the area. The officer told Rosselit he didn't find the minivan, but did see several mailboxes still open.

Rosselit is not sure if anyone's mail was actually taken, but knows mailboxes are a low risk, high reward target for crooks.

"It's usually further away from the house and it only takes a matter of seconds," she said. "It can happen any time of day, and the rewards can be anything."

That includes personal information.

According to the Springfield Police Department, mail theft is an "increasing problem." Rosselit said the holidays might make mailboxes an even more tempting target for thieves.

"It can be grandma sending a nice, big check, or something as simple as a rebate from Black Friday, where they can get $10 at a department store," Rosselit said.

Springfield police encourage homeowners to never leave outgoing mail in their mail box. They also say to make sure you're paying attention to what's happening on your street, and if you see anything suspicious, call 9-1-1.

SPD also recommends homeowners pick up their mail soon after it's dropped off. Rosselit said, with the busy holiday season, that can be a challenge for some, as mail tends to run later.

"I think people forget, often times, to check past their normal times. If your mail normally comes at 3:00, and it might come at 5:00, you might forget for the whole night and then it's out there for who knows how many hours," she said.

However, she hopes the video picked up on her security camera is a reminder to not just her neighbors, but all homeowners, to protect themselves.

"Property theft is relatively easy for criminals, but it's also easy to prevent it," she said.

For more advice from the Springfield Police Department on preventing mail theft, click HERE.