BARSTOW Vandals have used explosives to destroy several mailboxes in the Soap Mine Road area in recent weeks.

The most recent incident, in which three mailboxes were destroyed, was reported Saturday morning on the 35100 block of Marks Road, said Barstow sheriff's station Sgt. Tim Lotspeich.

Anna Swartwout, whose mailbox was among the ones hit that night, said the vandals apparently used some type of homemade explosive, possibly made out of manure and diesel fuel.

Lyn Monds, whose mailbox was destroyed the previous weekend, said to her knowledge, at least six mailboxes had been hit in the past several weeks. She noted that neighbors had found chemical residue in the mailboxes afterwards.

The neighbors said they are looking at the incidents as a safety issue for people checking their mail as well as mail carriers and newspaper delivery people.

"I'm not letting my kids get the mail right now," Swartwout said although noting that no one, in fact, is getting the mail, since the family still has no mailbox.

Jason Pluma, postmaster at the Barstow Post Office said he is also concerned for the safety of the mail carriers. The post office is asking customers in the Soap Mine area to move their mail boxes closer to their houses, rather than leaving them in an isolated location side of the street, in hopes of dissuading the vandals.

Postal inspectors are investigating the incidents, he said.

Lotspeich said the Barstow sheriff's station also forwarded a report to the sheriff's department bomb and arson detail. No arrests have been made.

To report information relating to the mailbox explosions call the Barstow sheriff's station at 760-256-4838. To remain anonymous, call WE-TIP at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or asewell@desertdispatch.com