A mail carrier delivers mail along Dubuque Road in Snohomish on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A mail carrier delivers mail along Dubuque Road in Snohomish on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

City: Marysville post office master keys stolen, used to steal mail

The suspects apparently stole the keys and copied them using a 3D printer, according to authorities.

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Post Office had its master keys stolen, and thieves have been taking mail from group mailboxes and collection boxes in the city, according to city officials.

U.S. Postal Service officials have been notifying residents that the suspected thieves apparently used a 3D printer to create copies of keys, said Gloria Hirashima, the city’s chief administrative officer. The postal service also reportedly told residents they did not have funds to replace all the locks.

Hirashima warned residents to not leave important financial documents in their mailboxes, as they could be stolen. The post office notified Marysville police that “daily thefts” have been occurring from large multi-unit residential mail boxes, as well as blue collection boxes, Hirashima said.

Police have been investigating since Aug. 8, department spokesperson Bridgette Larsen said. Police hadn’t made any arrests related to the thefts, as of Monday, she noted. If anyone has an issue, they can call 911 or the Marysville Police Department’s non-emergency line 425-407-3999.

A mailbox in the Parkview Estates neighborhood that has been emptied by suspected mail thieves on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023 (Photo provided by the city of Marysville)

A mailbox in the Parkview Estates neighborhood that has been emptied by suspected mail thieves on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023 (Photo provided by the city of Marysville)

The Marysville Post Office, postmaster and postal investigator did not immediately respond to a Daily Herald reporter’s phone calls.

Over the past few weeks, citizens in the Parkview Estates neighborhood emailed Mayor Jon Nehring, saying thieves had broken in multiple times, according to an email sent by Hirashima.

“Police said without camera footage nothing can be done,” one resident wrote in an email to the city. “My husband talked to the post office, they again said nothing they can do, they can’t afford to change the locks. So now we are vulnerable to have our mail stolen at any time.”

The mail theft suggests a “widespread lack of security” for mail collected and distributed by USPS within zip codes that use these master keys, Hirashima wrote.

Hirashima said the problem covered “at least” the 98270 and 98271 zip codes, potentially tens of thousands of people.

Last week, Marysville police Cmdr. Adam Vermeulen spoke with the Marysville postmaster, and learned the postal inspector was aware of the problem and installed “key grabbers” in some boxes, Hirashima said. The grabbers trap a key after it is used, preventing them from being used again.

Other than that, the postmaster said “there is nothing else they can do,” according to city authorities.

“We would love to see the post office change the locks,” Hirashima said.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @EDHJonTall.

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