Shameless theft captured on CCTV footage
WEARING black ballet flats, jeans and a grey jumper, the woman in this CCTV footage looks like your average well-dressed, middle-aged mum.
But within seconds of the video beginning, it becomes clear she is anything but innocent.
Instead, it shows an experienced thief in action - one with a variety of tools in her arsenal.
The video was shared with news.com.au by resident Gary Buck who had his own mail stolen in the incident, which occurred at an apartment block on St Kilda Road in inner Melbourne late one night in early September.
He said the video, which clearly showed the unidentified woman's sneaky techniques, was an obvious wake up call, and that he wanted to warn others of the potential danger of mail and identity theft.
"The video shows how easy it is - and if she's doing it, how many other people are?" he said. "She's such a different demographic to the usual suspect.
"If you saw her walking down the street you would never suspect her of pinching mail."
The 20-minute clip shows the woman stride confidently to the building's letterboxes, which are located on the outside of the apartment block, before sliding her hands through the narrow letter openings.
When that fails, she turns to plan B, using pieces of wire she bought with her to help hook and release the mail.
She systematically rummages through each mailbox in turn, using her hands and the tools to pull out several items.
She is seen casting furtive glances to her left and right several times, as she watches out for any potential witnesses, and she is also pictured with a pile of letters she bought with her, indicating she may have already struck other buildings in the area.
However, the woman appears to be in no real rush, taking almost half an hour to rifle through the mail.
At one point, she even sits down and takes the time to read through the loot before dumping unwanted items in a nearby garden, picking up a suitcase she had with her, and walking off nonchalantly into the street.
Mr Buck said mail theft was a common problem in the area, and that it was the third incident in around 12 months in his building alone.
As a result of the constant theft, the body corporate was planning on moving the letterboxes inside in the near future.
"We have done a lot of things to try and improve security but no matter what you do, it's not going to stop people getting a couple of sticks and getting inside the mailboxes," he said.
"We did report it to the police but they just said it happened all the time.
"I think it's important for people to think about what they are getting delivered. There's no reason to get bank statements delivered by mail anymore and it could leave you open to identity theft."
Mr Buck said one resident had a set of keys to another building stolen by the woman in the footage, and warned Aussies to never leave keys inside their mailboxes.
Mail theft is a serious offence in this country, and can be met with tough penalties.
As well as the loss of valuables, it can also lead to identity theft, which the Australian Federal Police estimates costs us upwards of $1.6 billion each year.
Mr Buck said while the theft had been reported to police, the woman had still not been found.
If you recognise this woman, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or contact your local police.