Postmaster Lydia Jauregui-Cook is considering installing security cameras in the lobby of the Los Alamos post office after vandals burgled two 1950's bronze mailboxes early Thursday morning.
Jauregui-Cook, who has been the postmaster for 10 years, said the break-in at 497 Bell Street is one of five incidents since she began working for the small-town post office.
The damage was most likely caused by a small crowbar or a large screwdriver, which was used to pry the mailboxes open at the top and sides, according to Waldo Rodriguez, a Los Alamos resident who is employed with the Goleta post office plant in the maintenance department.
Rodriguez, who was hired to repair the damaged mailboxes, said the force used was significant and will cost a few hundred dollars to repair but can be fixed.
The postmaster said both of the boxes were rented by two separate individuals, one a rancher and one a local resident, apparently with no connection to each other. Contents of both boxes were taken, which is a federal offense.
Jauregui-Cook reported the crime to the Santa Maria Police Department, the United Postal Inspection Service and to the two people who rented the boxes.
"We don't really have problems here in Los Alamos," said Sharon Johnson, who has called the small town home for 40 years. She joked with Rodriguez as he repaired the damaged mailboxes, telling him they should get fingerprints and send them to the crime lab.
On a serious note, Johnson said she thought cameras, even one pointed at the front door, would be a good addition to the post office.
Jauregui-Cook said she will not speculate on who vandalized and burglarized the post office, but she did say that she hoped residents would keep a closer eye on the property and report anything suspicious to the police.