SPOKANE, Wash. -

Last week someone went inside the U.S. Post Office on South Regal on the South Hill and broke into boxes containing mail or packages, so postal inspectors and sheriff's deputies set up a sting to catch the thief in the act.

After postal clerks discovered someone had pried open post office boxes at the Regal branch two nights in a row, postal inspectors and Spokane County Sheriff's detectives can up with a plan to do some surveillance.

Post Office box lobbies are open 24/7 as a way of making it more convenient for customers to pick up their mail as their schedule allows. Unfortunately the around the clock availability has now made the post offices a target for thieves.

"The postal inspectors were already notified and since they had broken in two days in a row, they decided to have a stakeout the third day and caught them breaking into those boxes," Robbin Darst with the U.S. Postal Service said.

Around 11 p.m. last Thursday detectives say they caught Bart Bonebright using a knife to break into boxes at the Regal branch.

Surprisingly there are no surveillance cameras in the lobby but that's going to change.

"We will be installing cameras in all of our lobbies and our postal box areas," Darst said.

After his arrest, Bonebright led investigators just two blocks away to the Biltmore Apartments where they recovered several bags of stolen mail.

Detectives say it appears Bonebright was also stealing outbound letters from residential mailboxes and had taken a check going to Avista and made it out to himself.

"If you see anyone out there, tampering with a mail box, who is not a postal carrier, that you know should not be at that mailbox you need to immediately report this to Crime Check," Darst said.

Now there's another option when it comes to securing your mail. Seven of your nearest neighbors can get together and ask the post office for a free cluster box unit.

"They can have a unit set up with the parcel lockers in it. Their boxes are locked. They have the keys to it," Darst said.

It's important to remember if you are mailing out checks to pay your bills don't use the box in front of your house. Take your letters to the post office.