Mailbox vandalism increases

Mike Linn

Roughly three miles south of Portales on New Mexico 206, a cluster of mailboxes look like they had a recent date with a Louisville Slugger. Two of the mailboxes were knocked clear off their post, and a few miles farther to the south one box was shattered to smithereens.
Such vandalism to mailboxes in Roosevelt County peaked this week after officials with the sheriff’s department said about 40 were damaged or destroyed in two days.
“It has happened in the past, probably not near as severe as it has this time,” Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Atkins said. “It appears the subjects are using some sort of blunt instrument, probably a baseball bat.”
Atkins said 26 mailboxes were smashed on Tuesday night and about 16 on Thursday evening. He believes the subjects are bashing boxes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Some of the damage has occurred on N.M. 206 about 4 miles south of town while a majority of vandalism is to mailboxes a few miles east of Portales on State Road 88 toward Arch, Atkins said.
Joe Randall, who lives about three miles south of Portales near the corner of Roosevelt Road Nine and N.M. 206, was checking out the damage to his mail box Friday afternoon.
“Well, I’d have to say it’s probably kids,” he said.
After analyzing a group of smashed boxes near his mailbox, Randall noticed dents that he said were probably made with an aluminum bat.
Randall and his wife Chris said they’re lucky because they receive a majority of their mail at a P.O. box in town, so the damage to their county mailbox is not terribly detrimental.
Even so, Joe joked about filling a box with concrete to dissuade future vandalism.
“Think that would sting a bit?” he asked his wife.
Atkins said anybody who sees suspicious residents near mailboxes late at night can report to the sheriff’s department.
If caught, the subjects would be charged with criminal damage to property, and depending on how many mailboxes have been damaged the subjects could be charged with a fourth degree felony.
Atkins said criminal damage over $250 is considered a felony, and a mailbox costs roughly $25.