At least four U.S. Postal Service drop-off boxes have been vandalized in the past couple weeks and Fort Smith residents are concerned at the timing with less than a month to go until the election.
The first report was on Sept. 25 when the drop box at the intersection of Park Avenue and North Greenwood Avenue was pried open with a crowbar. The contents were stolen. The damage was an estimated $200, while the contents are not known and therefore do not have a set monetary value.
Three reports came in on Monday regarding other drop boxes being vandalized. All three were reported Monday morning and were investigated by Fort Smith police officers.
One drop box was located on the 3100 block of Wirsing Avenue. The box had been pried open and emptied of its contents. The mail was soon found in a ditch about one block away from the scene. Estimated damage was $50.
Another drop box was located on the 3300 block of South 74th Street where three dump bins were discovered to have been pried open and emptied. The estimated damage for all three boxes was $300. The mail was not recovered.
The last report on Monday was for a drop box in the parking lot on Market Trace. The person in charge of these boxes stated the boxes were last checked on Saturday and she was unsure if anything was taken.
The penalty for mail theft is a fine, up to five years imprisonment or both.
FSPD posted at the department’s Facebook page on Sept. 28 and Oct. 6 asking for information regarding these acts of vandalism.
Some people on online forums are expressing concern the target is absentee ballots. Of those concerned, some see this as a reason to vote in person rather than absentee. Identity theft is also a concern.
Attempts were made to contact the post office investigator.