An investigation was launched last week after massive bags of unopened United States Postal Service mail and packages were discovered at two separate locations in Southern California.
In the first incident last Thursday morning, police received a phone call alerting them that "possible stolen mail or whatever was dumped in an alleyway," Glendale Police Sgt. Christian Hauptmann told the Los Angeles Times. Several hours later, police received a second phone call about more dumped mail.
Fortunately, the second incident was captured on surveillance cameras.
The footage, shared with KTLA-TV, shows a rental truck backing into the parking lot of a medical salon. A man then exits the truck and tosses large bags of mail and packages from inside the truck onto the ground.
"It happened early in the morning, 5:40, and it was a Budget rental — big truck — that backed up to the parking lot. And they're like, slowly, one by one, they're dropping the packages," Lilia Serobian, one of the medical salon's owners, told KTLA.
She said the truck left a "huge pile" of mail and that the truck was not connected to the USPS.
According to the Times, the second mail drop happened less than one mile from the first.
What did the USPS say?
USPS spokesperson Evelina Ramirez told the Times:
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement, crime prevention and security arm of the Postal Service. In order to preserve the integrity of their investigations and to prevent fundamental unfairness to the subjects of those investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does not comment on any ongoing investigations.
What's the background?
The mysterious mail drops come as the USPS has taken center stage in the national dialogue ahead of the November election.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats have pushed for widespread mail-in voting. They have in turn made shoring up the security of the postal service a top priority, even going so far as to spread a conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump was actively dismantling the postal service to manipulate the election.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra actually joined a lawsuit last week to stop routine operational changes at the USPS, furthering the conspiracy.
"The U.S. Postal Service is an American institution. For many, it's a lifeline — their Social Security or paychecks, their medicine, their connection to loved ones. And for a vast, growing number, it's their franchise to democracy," Becerra said in a statement. "President Trump's sabotage of the USPS is un-American. It's an attack on free and fair elections and our right to vote. No matter who you support, your right to vote is sacred."