Shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, a witness reported to the Clay County Sheriff's Department that a group of people were seen smashing mailboxes while making loud noises and yelling obscenities on CR 700 North, around the Four Lakes Estates area.
When daylight came, residents from various locations around the county began to call dispatchers to report the vandalism of their mailboxes during the night. As of press time there have been 11 reports of mailboxes being destroyed, but CCSD officials expect the number of reports to increase. Officers have witnessed almost 20 other mailboxes damaged in the same area during their investigations, many of which have not been reported by residents.
Destruction of a mailbox is a violation of the Indiana state statute regarding criminal mischief. The violation, which is a Class A misdemeanor, is punishable with up to one year imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for each incident if convicted.
If mail is inside the box at the time of the incident it then becomes a federal crime. The federal charge, if the local postmaster considers the incident serious enough to be turned over to a federal prosecutor, is a felony which is punishable with up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge filed.
Sgt. Brian Pierce has been assigned to the investigation while dispatchers continue to generate a list of possible victims.
The CCSD are encouraging anyone with information about this case to contact the dispatcher's office at 446-2535