Could a post office lock box be putting your home at risk?

EMBED </>More Videos

Danielle Leigh has the latest on the safety concern.

A Brooklyn woman wants to warn New York City residents about a potential safety concern created by the lock boxes known as "key keepers" commonly used to store spare keys for postal carriers delivering mail to apartment complexes without a doorman and without exterior mailboxes.

Adrianne Johnson said her home surveillance system captured a man picking the lockbox in the middle of the night and using the key inside to burglarize her apartment complex.

"It's still lingering, believe me," said Johnson remembering the scary moments she woke up and realized she had received an alert from her home surveillance company "The Ring" that her flood light surveillance camera had detected motion at her front door.

The video captured a man picking the key keeper at the front door to her three-story walk up apartment complex for more than 20 minutes before obtaining the key and using it to access the complex along with a female accomplice.

Johnson said the two then went to a currently vacant unit.

"That is a little scary," Johnson said. "I wanted to alert the neighborhood about what happened to me and also this could happen to them."

New York Police confirmed they have identified the man seen in the video as Bradley Walters and arrested him for burglary October 25.

A USPS spokesperson said the lock boxes are installed by policy because unlike other cities multiple mail carriers service the same buildings in New York City and because mail carriers cannot carry keys to every building they serve.

Donna Harris, a spokesperson for the Postal Inspection Service, couldn't say how many of the more than 2,500 mail related crimes investigators responded to last year involved these key keepers, but Harris did say reported break-ins to the lock boxes are extremely rare.

Harris confirmed postal investigators are now also examining the case.

A separate spokesperson said the lock boxes tend to be very secure and encouraged residents to make sure the lock boxes are well-maintained to prevent the likelihood they are burglarized.

Harris also advised residents to report anyone seen lurking near a key keeper immediately to both police and Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455.

Following the incident, Johnson said she's hoping to find an alternative to the key keeper that will still allow mail carriers to deliver mail without needing to access a spare key.

"It's lingering in the back of my head on what I can do to take care of that issue and deter the next person from doing the same thing," Johnson said.

Johnson added that she's glad she recently invested in a home surveillance system which helped police catch the intruder.

"I feel like it's definitely worth the money," Johnson said.

Roughly 121,000 New York residents and 80,000 New Jersey residents have invested in the increasingly popular "Ring" surveillance system which Johnson currently uses.

The Ring offers doorbell and motion activated HD surveillance systems that can send immediate alerts to a user's smart phone whenever activity is detected.

Transparency Market Research estimates home surveillance companies like the Ring have grown dramatically in recent years to represent a more than $25 billion industry and will likely become a more than $101 billion dollar industry by 2025.

Police have also regularly said home surveillance video can be extremely helpful to their investigation.

"Our jobs as detectives is to try and get the best surveillance we can and try to get a face shot of the subject," said NYPD Detective Ryan Glas. "We go from there."

Some cities such as La Canada, Calif.; even consider home surveillance video so important, city leaders have begun entering into deals with companies such as the Ring, to offer rebates to residents who invest in the systems.
Related Topics:
burglarybreak-inBrooklynNew York City
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)