Vandals hit Eagle River Post Office once again

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 05:43
  • Photo courtesy Mike Nolan Vandalism at the Eagle River Post Office March 13, 2017. No mail was damaged or taken in the incident, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • Star photo by Kirsten Swann The Eagle River Post Office, March 16, 2017. Featuring a 24/7 lobby, the post office has been vandalized twice in recent months.
  • The Eagle River Post Office, March 16, 2017. Featuring a 24/7 lobby, the post office has been vandalized twice in recent months. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

Post office patrons aren’t the only ones taking advantage of extended hours at the Eagle River facility.

Sometime early on the morning of March 13, lobby vandals overturned wastebaskets and left mailing envelopes strewn across the floor, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and a photo posted to the Eagle River Crime Watch Facebook group. Almost two months prior, a similar incident temporarily closed the postal facility for the day after blood was found in the lobby, according to a USPS spokesman.

It’s one of the risks of running a round-the-clock facility.

“One thing the post office has to deal with is a balance between customer service and the security of the post office,” said Alan Damron, a USPS postal inspector and public information officer.

The Eagle River facility is one of a few in Anchorage that keeps its lobby open 24/7 as a convenience to customers, he said. Because mailboxes are considered federal property, vandalizing them is a federal offense, and violators can face up to three years in jail and a fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

In each recent incident of vandalism at the Eagle River post office, Damron said, no mail was damaged or stolen. The destruction seemed to be limited to the public lobby, and there was no graffiti or permanent damage.

“Something happened there, but there was no sign of burglary or anybody trying to get into the post office,” the postal inspector said.

Law enforcement never discovered the source of the January blood. A spokeswoman for the Anchorage Police Department said the department received no reports of an assault in the area that day. The postal service had no leads, Damron said.

Still, the federal agency takes even petty destruction seriously, according to the postal inspector.

Damron said the USPS has reached out the Anchorage Police Department, whose Eagle River substation is located just down the street, to help keep an eye on the Business Boulevard post office outside of normal business hours. Public involvement is also key, he said.

“We rely heavily on the community – if people see something strange going on or see something suspicious, call it in,” Damron said.

He said the U.S. Postal Service maintains a 24/7 phone line for reporting situations like that. The number is 1-877-876-2455. People can also file complaints and report mail crimes online at USPIS.gov.

Contact Star reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]

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