Northwest NEWS

July 6, 1998

Local News

Post office bewildered by bombings

   With the sale of illegal fireworks, pranksters have been busy blowing up mailboxes around Woodinville and elsewhere, leaving postal officials frustrated.

   In one incident near Lake Leota, the metal sides and top of a 16-box mail collection unit as well as the wooden structure protecting it were blown apart.

   Bob Leach, Woodinville Post Office supervisor of customer services, says it will cost $400 to $500 to replace the unit which the post office provides for no charge to prevent mail theft.
  
   There had been at least three other mail box bombings as of last Tuesday.
  
   Leach struggled to understand the destruction, and used the words "wonderment," "bewilderment," and "frustration" to describe his feelings.
  
   Damaging mail boxes is a federal offense punishable by jail time or fines or both, he says.
  
   But it goes beyond that.
  
   "We're losing a sense of community when we blow up each other's mail boxes," Leach said.
  
   Police suspect kids out of school for the summer may be to blame. Sgt. Ken Wardstrom, Woodinville police chief, suggested residents be observant of suspicious vehicles or people, take down descriptions and contact police. He said the spate of bombings will probably die down after the Fourth of July.