PHOTO BY GILBERT VALLÉE
Upon checking his mail January 8, St. Lazare resident Gilbert Vallée found all the mailboxes at the Chaline Valley community postal outlet opened an unguarded.
Immediately following news that a Hudson Canada Post community mailbox had been broken into over the holidays, and notices distributed in a number of Vaudreuil-Soulanges towns offering a $2000 reward for information about mailbox theft, comes news that dozens of mailboxes were recently left unsecured at a community mailbox station in St. Lazare.
“A Canada Post worker came and said it was her employee who forgot to close the doors,” said resident Gilbert Vallée who contacted Your Local Journal following the January 8 incident in the Chaline Valley region of the town. “Included in the mail, there was the memo looking for information about vandalized mailboxes. It doesn’t make any sense at all.” Vallée called the St. Lazare Post Office and said an employee arrived after 10 minutes to close and lock up the boxes.
Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier issued the following comment via email: “As soon as our team was alerted, someone was dispatched immediately to close the panels to secure the mail. The incident is currently being investigated and I, unfortunately, cannot confirm whether it was an issue with the employee. We take security of the mail very seriously and appreciate the alert provided to us by residents.”
As of press time, Canada Post has not elaborated further.
“At least they sent someone right away to close the boxes and make sure there was no vandalism,” said Vallée, “but what’s the point of sending the note if they don’t close the door?”
The note, which was distributed in early January, asks anyone who has witnessed vandalism or theft in progress at a community mailbox to call police at 911, and Canada Post at 1-800-267-1177. “Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone stealing from the mail or vandalizing Canada Post property,” the note says. Residents are further urged to pick up their mail every day and as soon as possible after it has been delivered.
Complaints about the community mailboxes have spiked, with community groups on social media platforms sharing photos and stories of mailbox thefts and/or break-ins in towns including Hudson, St. Lazare, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Rivière Beaudette, and Rigaud.
On January 12, the Sûreté du Québec issued a communique confirming several thefts were reported to the SQ, particularly of the large package compartments of the community boxes but declined to say how many, or which types of packages were taken. An investigation is reportedly underway.