CHICAGO (CBS) — Somebody is targeting a quiet middle-class Chicago neighborhood and stealing ornate brass mailbox slots in the dead of night.

As CBS2’s Mike Parker reports, it’s the talk of the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side.

And no wonder. Take a walk in the 8900 block of South Cornell. Everywhere you look, there are ugly holes where the heavy metal mail slots used to be.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Jean Johnson worries about her elderly mother, who had hers stolen very early Sunday morning.

“This is really appalling. This is ridiculous,” she says. “I just don’t understand why somebody would take mailboxes.”

The reason is simple. The brass fixtures, built into the bricks and stone facades of the homes, are worth at minimum $4 apiece on the scrap-metal market. CBS 2 counted a total of 26 of them missing from 40 homes in the block along South Cornell.

Victim Henry Moore wonders: “Now where can I get a mailbox to fit in there? How much is it going to cost me to have it put back in?”

“It has to be done, and you can’t leave it open like. If it rains, it’ll go into the house,” he adds.

Moore is especially incensed.  Like all the others, he never saw nor heard the thief or thieves.

Another man who had his box stolen, Leonard Clay, worries his wrought iron gate and fencing could also be targeted.

“Yeah, we figure that’ll be next,” Clay says.

This is not the first time this has happened either.  Five weeks ago, residents of the Avalon Park neighborhood had a string of mailbox thefts, just like this one.

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