The surveillance footage was taken the moment a thief broke into a United States Postal Service mailbox, fearing that many ballots had been stolen.
The theft took place early Friday morning outside Reliance Market at the intersection of 20th Street and Castro Street in the neighborhood of Dolores Heights, ABC7 reported.
The surveillance footage shows a person in a hooded shirt apparently fishing for items in the mailbox. Then she is seen getting into a vehicle while holding what appears to be mail taken from the mailbox.
Sami Wahab, the owner of Reliance Market, told the station that he saw the thief drop at least one postal vote before he escaped.
Wahab said he found a discarded ballot paper which he handed to his letter carrier. However, he fears that more ballots may have been stolen by the thief.
He said he was “very angry” when he saw what happened. “We really must have a fair election,” Wahab added.
Anyone with information about the theft should contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service was contacted for comment.
According to a recent report by NBC News, U.S. Postal Inspection Service data shows that the number of reports of mail theft has increased 600 percent in the last three years, from about 25,000 in 2017 to about 177,000 by August 24, 2020.
However, a spokesperson for the agency noted that the figures “include a significant number of reported customer complaints that are not related to mail theft, such as mailbox vandalism, mail delivery problems and matters unrelated to the post office or postal service.
Meanwhile, the postal vote has been under increased scrutiny this year as a record number of postal votes were cast in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about the integrity of the process, claiming that it is full of fraud.
In May, the California government issued an order to Gavin Newsom that all registered voters in the state would receive a postal ballot before the 2020 elections so that they could vote safely during the pandemic.
Prior to this order, Californians had to apply for a postal vote if they wanted to vote by mail. All California voters who are concerned about the status of their postal vote can check the progress of the postal vote on the California Secretary of State’s website.