ST. GEORGE – Reports of destroyed mailboxes sent the St. George police department and the fire department to Paiute Drive in the Bloomington area of St. George early Friday morning. Responders on scene said that apparently several teenagers had driven through the area, and left explosive devices in random mailboxes. Although nobody was harmed in the act, there is some notable damage to property.
“I heard the fire truck, I saw the cops circling, so I walked up to the cop to find out what the heck went on,” said Bert Christensen, the owner of one of the destroyed mailboxes. Christensen said that he is a Viet Nam veteran whose service included destruction of explosive ordinances.
“Like the cop said ‘they are just having fun,’” Christensen said, “but that’s not fun. Pretty soon someone gets hurt or killed, and then it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Unfortunately, vandalism of this nature is indiscriminate and occurs at relatively random times, so there is no way to anticipate or prepare for it. It really doesn’t matter in what part of town homeowners live, or what actions they take to prevent destruction to their mailboxes, they will always, by the nature of their placement on the road, be exposed to potential vandalism.
What many people fail to realize is that although mailboxes are private property the U.S. Postal Service is a federal agency, so mailboxes become protected under federal law. According to Title 18, Section 1705 of the U.S. Code, those who destroy a mailbox, or the mail inside it, can be fined and sentenced to up to three years in prison. The intensity of the punishment is a good indicator of how seriously officials take this issue.
Breaking federal law and causing property damage is well past the line of just having fun. Vandals, and potential offenders, need to understand the consequences associated with their actions, and look for other ways to have fun.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.