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Topic: Chasing thieves away from our mailbox.

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Subject: Chasing thieves away from our mailbox.
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 7:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/16/2008
Posts: 6
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One of the delivery guys was arrested this year when he was caught by the new postmaster for stealing mail.  Apparently he had been stealing stuff out of the mail for a long long time.

Additionally, there are teams of people driving around our neighborhood stealing mail from mailboxes, at least for the 17 or so years that we have lived here.  When reported to the postmasters over the years, they have been totally uninterested! 

Christmas is that special time of year that we receive the highest number of torn-open envelopes and boxes.

I especially love it when the postal carrier leans the envelope or package against the inside of the gate so that it is not only visible from the road, but less than 4 feet from the road.



Last Edited on: 12/22/08 7:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2006
Posts: 4,790
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Last Edited on: 2/1/09 12:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: Had someone stealing OUTGOING mail in Virginia Beach a few years back
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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I was in Chincoteague, VA in July about 6 years ago watching the Pony Swim (Made famous by Misty of Chincoteague books).  I left there one morning and had just pulled into my driveway at home while noting the 11 police cars and 1 police helicopter in the neigbhorhood in close proximity to my house.  I stepped out of the car as an officer leaped over my porch rail and asked to go into my backyard (and could I restrain my two Chihuahuas that were yapping at his feet?)


I unlocked the house, let him in and disabled my house alarm while he promptly went through out the backdoor into my backyard.


I did an about-face and went across the street to see my neighbor because her husband was a Virginia Beach police officer.  She was trying to get information from him as well.


The officer in my backyard came through leading a punk with no shoes, no shirt, and tattered britches.  He was trying to steal outgoing mail from the mailboxes to get checking information from outgoing bills with checks inside.  We didn't consider him the brains of the outfit, but do not know if they ever caught that one. 


I never mailed from my mailbox out front because within 1-2 months of my buying the house vandals wrecked my mailbox.  I always took outgoing mail to the post office drop boxes.


Today, in rural Minnesota, I no longer have that problem.  If someone stops at my mailbox, the pack of dogs here lets me know and usually the noise chases them on their way at a much quicker pace!  :)

Date Posted: 12/23/2008 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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There is always the option of a P.O. box if you feel unsafe having mail delivered to a box outside of your house. If you still keep a box outside of your home and are worried about packages being stolen, you CAN request that the mail carrier leave no packages, they will leave you a notice and you can pick them up at the Post Office.

Date Posted: 12/23/2008 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,718
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Well we recently had a front counter clerk at our post office arrested for pilfering both the incoming and outgoing mail, so even sending/getting your mail at the post office isn't 100% safe.

Date Posted: 12/23/2008 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,603
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I would definitely be getting a PO box or private mail box at someplace like The UPS Store if someone was stealing mail from my mailbox.

I always drop outgoing mail in a blue box.  I don't like to leave it in my mailbox.

Date Posted: 12/24/2008 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
Posts: 14,915
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We were standing outside my house last night and someone was walking down the street.  This guy walked up to our next door neighbor's house and grabbed a package off their front porch!  After he grabbed it, he ran down the street with it and no one could catch him because he had a head start and it was really snowy!

I couldn't believe he did it right in front of everyone!

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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We have community mailboxes which are opened only with a key.  When I first moved here 13 years ago, I thought it was a pain to have to walk around the corner to get my mail.  But now I'm grateful for those mailboxes..... wouldn't change a thing about them.

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2008
Posts: 6
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I live in a city and get mail stolen about once a year, we just moved to an apartment complex with locked mail lockers and if the package is too big, they put them inside the locked door where the security camera is. I can't tell you how happy I about this because the USPS doesn't care when you lose a package and even if they did there isn't much they can do.

My mail carrier at my last apt would leave packages in plain sight every time no matter how many time I pleaded with him not to. All he'd have to do was move 5 inches to his right to leave them where they couldn't be seen from the street!

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
Posts: 349
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I have a safe mailbox with its like a drop box. The mail person just drops my mail in the hole on the top side and down it goes, no one can put their hands inside and get it. I have a key to open it.

One time the mail person put the mkail in the wrong box and asked me for a key. I wouldn't give it to him. I open the box so he could get the mail but I wouldn't let him have a key.

I have not had any trouble with mail since I got the new lock box.

Date Posted: 2/8/2009 4:10 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Johnnie, just FYI...  Legally the box is required to have a post office lock on it for that very reason, so that the carrier can get into it if needed.  The PO can insist on that if they want to, or refuse to deliver to that box.

Date Posted: 2/9/2009 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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We have a community mailbox as well, about a block down the street. It can be a pain to have to go down there after a blizzard drops several feet of snow on the ground, but the security of having all your mail behind a locked door is well worth it. Though I do wish there was an outgoing mail-drop somewhere around. The main problem we have is with UPS and FedEx. If nobody is home, they just leave the package on the front stoop. We haven't had anything stolen yet, but we do worry that with the economy the way it is, people may get desperate. Not to mention, this is Alaska. Most of the stuff shipped by those methods are pricier than normal everyday purchases (electronics, video games, and that kind of stuff). Having packages sit locked in a metal box down the street in winter is bad enough, but out on the front porch in direct contact with the weather? Weather that is sometimes well below zero? We're lucky that nothing has proven to be defective upon being opened yet. Of course, we always let it warm up to regular temperature before trying it, but still.

Subject: UPS/FEDEX
Date Posted: 2/10/2009 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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Speaking of UPS and FEDEX, I have problems with them delivering packages.

I live in an extremely rural area.  Along my south fence is a corn/soybean field as well as behind me and across the road.  The fam site my house sits on has another house that is empty.

As far as I know packages here are not stolen from door steps, yet, I cannot seem to get a UPS delivery person (or FEDEX) who can read!


We have a 4' chain link fence around our entire property.  In addition, the back yard is segregated off from the front yard.  On nice summer days, we can close the two gates (each end of horseshoe drive) and allow the dogs free access around the entire property.  However, as there is snow up to the top of those four foot high fences (until yesterday when we finally got above 40 degrees) we close the backyard and the dogs stay in the back yard.

I made a sign for the gate to the backyard informing people that dogs have 24 hour access (via dog doors in the house) and do not enter.  This replaced a BEWARE OF DOG sign that I figured may have been taken as a joke (it had dog bitten out of it) and put up a homemade wooden sign that says "DO NOT ENTER, DOGS HAVE 24 HOUR ACCESS, put packages beside red garage" as well as a real BEWARE OF DOG SIGN, yet UPS AND FEDEX both continue to walk into the back yard to deliver packages.

I am at a loss how to stop this.

Did I mention that there are currently 20 dogs living here?  Four are mine and16 belong to my mother (none can reproduce and all are pets).  I know for sure one of mine may bite and at least two of my Mom's may be inclined to bite.

I am trying to keep these people from being bitten (and suing) but they refuse to read the signs. 


Date Posted: 2/10/2009 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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As long as you have the signs posted (you might want to document this with a few dated photos) anyone ignoring the signs and getting bitten doesn't have much of a claim against you.


Had a similar situation years ago at a garage I managed where a customer walked past no less than 6 beware of dog signs, stepped over a sleeping guard dog, and then entered an area clearly marked "Employee's Only" to use the bathroom in our locker area (the public one was actually much cleaner) then got bitten by that same dog, trying to step over it on his way back out again.  Bitten in a very errrr... "delicate" spot in fact...


He tried to sue, the SPCA got involved, checked the dog, conditions, signs, etc. (dog fell in love with the investigator) and when it got to court the judge read the facts, looked at the guy suing and said, "What are you, an idiot?  Dismissed."

Last Edited on: 2/10/09 11:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/13/2009 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Unfortunately not all judges are that sensible. 

Take some pics, talk to delivery management, and get some legal advice (make sure your signage meets legal requirements to hold up in court).


Date Posted: 2/16/2009 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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I have signs on every gate (there are two rolling to get onto the property, then a wooden to get to the backyard (front door is not used in winter), then another on the chain link gate to get into the back yard.


In addition I have signs every 30' around the perimeter of the yard fence.  All are metal signs (the plastic ones cannot stand up to the winds) purchased at a local Home Depot except for the one I made explaining that dogs have 24 hour access to the backyard (hoping this would deter delivery people from entering).


There has been a couple smart ones who wait at the closed gate to the back yard (again in winter the rolling gates and wood gate are open because snows would seal them shut).  The chain link gate is ALWAYS closed, however.


I am considering a sign that states entry without escort releases owner of any responsiiblity (monetary or otherwise) should a person enter past a closed gate alone).  I would post one on each gate, whether open or closed. 


We are known for having a large amount of dogs, it behooves me why some still insist on entering.

I was able to prevent UPS from entering when I had the rolling gates closed last week (of course the ice had froze the gate shut...)


Have lots of pics and video taken in the course of normal routine.

Last Edited on: 2/16/09 12:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1