Post Office: 800 pieces of mail stolen from Sarasota drop box

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SARASOTA - For the second time in just the last few months, someone has broken into a post office drop-off mail box -- stealing all of the letters inside.

This latest theft happened sometime over the holiday weekend at the post office on Siesta Drive in Sarasota. An estimated 800 letters were stolen from the drop off box.

It's likely the crooks are looking for cash, gift cards and personal information. Now the U.S. Postal Inspection Service -- as well as the Sarasota Police Department -- are on the trail of finding those responsible.

“I think it's a drag. I think people are nuts. What an inconsiderate thing to do for everybody. I'm really ticked,” says customer Laurie Ginsburg.

The box is now out of commission at it undergoes repairs.

“People breaking into mailboxes at the house, and now public mailboxes? This is a bad trend," says customer John Schaub.

And it's not the first time it's happened in the area, either. Last March, someone broke into another drop off box at the Gulf Gate Post Office.

“Criminals are opportunists. They are looking for any creative way to try and steal someone's identity,” says Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.

The Sarasota Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service, attempting to track down the thief. “We are going to do everything we can to try and identify who is doing this. We have a lot of investigative means, including looking at camera systems and other ways to track,” says Chief DiPino.

In the meantime, if you want to keep your mail safe, authorities suggest getting out of your car and taking it inside the post office, rather than throwing it into the unknown.

Authorities are asking that if anyone placed mail in the drop off box over the weekend, or if you have any information about the crime to contact Postal Inspector Doug Smith by calling 813-281-5256.