It was a not-so-merry Christmas Eve for some Duxbury residents who were the victims of a mail theft allegedly targeting holiday cards and packages. It was a not-so-merry Christmas Eve for some Duxbury residents who were the victims of a mail theft allegedly targeting holiday cards and packages.

According to Lt. Roger Banfill of the Duxbury Police Department, officers received a call around 10 a.m. on Wednesday that a bag of mail had been found abandoned in the woods near the Marshfield Country Club.

“We found a bag of ransacked mail that was from various parts of town and I assume that whoever did this was looking for money,” he said.

The mail was immediately turned over to the Duxbury Post Office on Depot St. who spent the majority of their Christmas Eve calling residents to pick up their mail and give authorities a sense of what was missing.

“There were about 250 pieces of mail [stolen], but there is a lot we salvaged and customers have been coming to pick it up,” said Postmaster Tracy Bygate Wednesday afternoon.  “It appears [the thieves] were mostly going for [Christmas] cards with money inside and packages.”

Bygate said that money and a pair of contact lenses are among the missing items identified by postal customers who retrieved their stolen mail.

The missing mail covered five postal routes, she said, including Powder Point Avenue, Hidden Acres Drive, Acorn Street and Onion Hill Road.

Bygate said that she contacted the Postal Inspectors Office as well as Postal Police regarding the theft and that an investigation is underway.  She said a similar incident happened a day or two earlier in Norwell, but she was not sure if the two thefts are related.

On Monday, postal supervisor Bob Strand said that inspectors met with Bygate on Friday to collect information on the case for their investigation.  Strand added that a couple of pieces of mail from Chestnut St. were turned over to the post office Monday morning and is believed to be connected to the Christmas Eve theft.

Banfill said that Duxbury police would be conducting their own investigation and would help the post office in any way possible.

Postal Inspector John Fuccillo of the Postal Inspector Service in Boston said that mail theft, a federal offense, carries a penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment no longer than five years for every piece of mail.  He added that a charge of obstruction of mail delivery could also be imposed.  This charge can either be a felony, punished by a fine and no more than five years in prison, or a misdemeanor, which is punishable by not more than six months in prison, depending on the nature of the theft.

Bygate said that if anyone finds more of the missing mail, it should be brought to the Depot. St. office.  She is also hoping that someone saw the thefts and can come forward with information.

If residents have any information on the theft, they are asked to call the Duxbury Police at 934-5656 or the Depot St. Post Office’s customer line at 934-5185.