KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 25, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
The community mailbox was vandalized and broken into inside a Kelliwood subdivision. Repairs are expected to take 4-6 weeks as this problem continues to grow. Now, residents are dealing with long, crowded lines at their local post office to pick up their mail.
Picture provided by Kelliwood resident, Kristi Panahi.
Kelliwood Mailboxes Vandalized
Mailboxes in the original Kelliwood subdivision at South Fry and Tilstock and Shillington were broken into and vandalized on December 8. More than one month later, there is still no solution for these Katy residents.
Residents Told 12 Subdivisions were Hit
“Many of us reported the problem to the 1-800 number provided with no response,” says resident Kristi Panahi. “Many of us also went in person to our local post office. We were told there that 12 subdivisions' keyed mailboxes had been broken into and we would have to pick up our mail in person.”
Although mail theft and tampering with mail is a federal offense, it has happened before in the Katy area.
“It’s a problem,” says Robert Henslee with Harris County Constable Ted Heap’s Office, Precinct 5. “It’s not just this area but all across the precinct.”
Panahi was told that it could take 4-6 weeks for the mailboxes to be fixed and useable again.
Meanwhile, many neighbors are struggling to get their mail in a safe manner during a pandemic.
Concerns During a Pandemic
“This is inconvenient, but most concerning, is the up to two-hour wait in line for the pick-up window,” says Panahi. “During a pandemic? I felt like I was at a super-spreader event.”
Panahi stopped going to the post office due to being high risk.
Since December 2020, the neighbors in Kelliwood have noticed more mailbox break-ins. Currently three of their eight large community mailboxes have been vandalized. Now, seven weeks later, they have no update on the progress of the case.
Other Katy subdivisions such as Green Trails and Nottingham Country have also fallen victim to these crimes as well.
“It comes in waves,” says Henslee. “We’ll see a rash of the mailbox break-ins and then it stops.”
“We work carefully with the Postal General Inspector and it is a federal offense,” says Henslee.
Protect Your Mail
While residents can’t protect their mailboxes, there are some steps they can take to protect their mail.
Find out when mail gets delivered and pick it up within the hour.
Have a neighbor pick up your mail if you’re unavailable.
Request a mail hold when going on vacation or ask a neighbor to collect it.
Arrange for a private box at the local post office.
“A lot of people have security cameras now,” says Henslee. “Contact your local law enforcement agency and let them know if you see anything or believe you have footage that could help.”
Meanwhile, many residents are concerned over what mail they could be missing and how tax information could be delivered.
“I’m worried about the amount of mail we pick up,” says Panahi. “It's about one-third of the amount we usually get. Where is the rest of our mail?”
Katy Magazine reached out to the Park Row Post Office and as of this publication, has not gotten a reply.