Cape Coral neighbor warns Christmas crooks tamper with mail

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
CBS News gifts
Photo via CBS News.

As we all know, it’s that time of the year to send Christmas cards to family and friends. Some of those may be filled with a little extra cash for the holidays.

Thieves are striking before Christmas, opening cards and taking what’s inside. Now, one homeowner, who found opened mail at the end of her driveway in Lee County has a message for everyone.

Christmas card crooks left behind a bizarre trail at Kim Rist’s home in Cape Coral, where mail belonging to other people was left strewn about her property. It became clear these were gifts that had been compromised.

“My husband came outside, and there was all this mail here at the edge of our driveway,” Rist said.

Rist said she put them back in her mailbox unsure of how the mail landed near her house.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” Rist said. “And then, as I was leaving to run my errands, a gentleman brought me my mail that lives like miles away.”

Rist realized the mail that had been left at the end of her driveway had been tampered with. The Christmas cards had been opened — thieves possibly looking for some extra Christmas cash. Rist now wonders if the gifts she sent this holiday season are safe and secure.

“Actually, I did send some gift cards, so now I’m a little nervous,” Rist said. “Should I be sending a check? Is that safer? I won’t be sending cash, but you just don’t think this is going to happen.”

Rist warns others, so their holiday cheer stays safe and gets to the right people.

“Just be careful … especially this time of the year,” Rist said. “What if it was a social security check? People depend. And what if you’re sending your mom money so that she can have a Christmas?”

One measure to ensure more safety is to put outgoing mail into the mailbox close to mail carrier collection times in neighborhoods and checking the mail more often when home.

Rist plans to take extra precautions personally as well.

“My cameras are now pointed at my mailbox,” Rist said.

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