PORTLAND - A $10,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for a rash of mail thefts in Eastern Oregon.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which announced the reward Monday, said the thefts occurred between Friday evening, July 15, and Saturday morning, July 16.

According to Dennis Fernald, postal inspector, someone broke into boxes at several post offices and also stole mail from individuals' mailboxes on rural routes.

The incidents occurred in Vale, Nyssa, Prairie City, Haines and Jamieson.

The thefts raised the specter of identify theft. Postal patrons whose financial accounts are compromised or who suspect identity theft as a result of a mail theft should report it to authorities and file a mail theft complaint at their local post office.

They can also call 1-877-876-2455, picking option 3, or visit the postal website. A link is available at www.MyEagleNews.com.

Theft of mail is a federal crime, punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and five years in prison.

Anyone with information about the identity of the thief or the incidents is encouraged to call 1-877-876-2455. Inspectors urged residents not to attempt to apprehend the person responsible.

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