Sheriff asks mailbox vandals, ‘why?’

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte would like to know whyjuveniles feel the need to destroy mailboxes.

He said that from January to November of last year, 106mailboxes were vandalized and an additional 33 mailbox structures,such as poles or decorative holders, were damaged.

“I just wonder what satisfaction or gratification they get outof it,” Boyte said. “Would they want their children to do it, orwould would they want their mailboxes vandalized in the future whenthey are responsible for them. I doubt it.”

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He said he can’t understand their reasoning and would likesomeone to explain it to him.

“I would love to ask them why they feel they need to do this,”he said. “Just give me one good reason why.”

Boyte’s concern stems from a recent rash of mailbox vandalismsin the county. Nearly 10 of them have been reported sinceMonday.

A suspect has been found in at least one of the vandalisms,Boyte said, and others may be related. The sheriff’s office is inthe process of resolving those issues now.

The sheriff is encouraging those who vandalized mailboxes towrite him to explain their reasons. The letters don’t have to besigned, he said. He believes the anonymous letters may also helpvictims better understand why they were targeted.

“They don’t have to explain it to me, but they need to explainit to their victims because they don’t understand either,” Boytesaid.

The sheriff said certain professions seem more disposed tohaving their mailboxes vandalized, and all deal with juveniles.

“It’s usually either done against a teacher, law enforcementofficer or comes about from a juvenile conflict stemming fromdisagreements,” he said. “It usually happens in the dead of nightwhen officers are responding to more serious crimes. We doeverything we can to catch them.”

Many are caught, he said, and the courts work well in enforcingthe laws. The juveniles who are caught are typically ordered to buyand personally replace the mailbox or mailboxes they destroyed.They are also typically ordered to make a personal apology to themailbox owner. Some may face more serious charges.