Laird Hill device found to be used for mail theft

Laird Hill device found to be used for mail theft
(Source: KLTV staff)

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - ATF agents had to be called in after suspicious activity was reported outside of an East Texas post office.

The post office is in the Laird Hill community, southwest of Kilgore in the 10,000 block of State Highway 42 north in Rusk county.

Investigators say a post office employee spotted a young man tampering with a blue mailbox outside of the post office around 8 a.m. this morning.

"A Postal employee showed up this morning and she observed a young male messing with outside boxes," said Ruck county sheriff's office lieutenant Dale Summers.

"With everything that's gone on in Austin, anything you see something suspicious we contact authorities and find out what's going on," said Chief Deputy Charles Helton.

When the man saw the employee, he reportedly ran to his vehicle, described as cream-colored pickup truck, and fled.

"An unknown person was leaning out of the pickup into the mailbox. We do have a license plate number," Helton said.

The employee told law enforcement she then saw a cord hanging out of the mailbox.

"We're not trained to determine whether it's explosives or not so at that time we contacted ATF. They opened the back part of the mailbox and observed
 a package stuck to the back wall," Summers says.

When deputies arrived on scene, they found the string was attached to a package inside the mailbox.

ATF agents arrived and found it was not an explosive device, but a technique used for theft.

"When the ATF got here it was determined appeared to be or it is a device used to steal mail," Helton said.

Anyone with information on the man or the truck spotted leaving the scene is asked to call the Rusk county sheriff's office.

Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.