Police: mail stolen, replaced with llama pictures in Charleston neighborhood

CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH)- Neighbors in the Fort Hill area of Charleston need your help after reports of suspicious activity in and around their mailboxes. The alleged thieves are not only stealing mail but are leaving something else in its place: laminated pictures of llamas.

The llama picture was a far cry from the bank statement Staci Tinney was expecting Monday afternoon, among other pieces of mail.

“What was disturbing is we were home at the time,” Tinney said.

She reviewed the security cameras on her property and noticed a black pick-up truck in the surveillance footage.

“A woman was hanging out of the passenger’s side of the truck, and she had opened my mailbox, was removing things from my mailbox, and looked like she was putting something in my mailbox,” Tinney said.

Tinney soon found out other neighbors on Hayes avenue and Sheridan Circle reported missing mail and packages that same day. She also learned that the laminated llama was not an isolated incident.

“While the police were here, the truck was down at the park & ride at the same time. Someone told them the police were looking for them, and they left — but not before showing them a picture of a llama and saying they were handing out wedding invitations,” Tinney said. “We don’t know anybody who knows a llama personally and definitely no one who gave us blank pictures of a llama as a wedding invitation.”

All joking aside, Tinney said this isn’t the first time her home has been a target of theft or vandalism.

“They stole my garbage from the trash can at the house, not at the road, and we knew that was for identity theft,” Tinney said.

Until they find out who is responsible for the stolen mail and packages, Tinney wants her neighbors to be on the lookout and take extra precautions.

“It’s a black truck – an older model Chevy Silverado,” Tinney said. “I think everyone should get cameras.”

Tampering with mail is a federal offense. Charleston police are investigating these incidents and said no arrests have been made. If you have any information, call its detective division at 304-348-6460.

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