Thou Shalt Not Steal.
For too many, stealing is a way of life. A thief cares nothing for the victims. They are sociopaths who feel no empathy. It’s simply, I want it, I’ll take it.
Americans have found out the hard way about what we call “porch pirates”. Petty criminals who troll neighborhoods looking for packages on porches. They stop, snatch within one minute and take off before a homeowner even knows what’s happened – if the homeowner is even home.
This has become very costly for retailers. I’m not sure what kind of insurance most of them carry against loss but someway those losses get passed on to the consumer. Millions of Americans have installed video surveillance, but tens of millions probably cannot afford to do so. Even with porch surveillance, thieves wear hoodies covering most of their face or disguise their face in some way.Porch pirates either keep your item(s) or sell for cash.
Last year Chewy.com delivered my usual order: 25# bag of Royal Canin doggie food for my Tibetan Mastiff. Maddy has a ‘delicate’ stomach. Her food, which my little Jack Russell Terrier also eats, contains nothing but either rabbit and potato or venison and potato. No additives, fillers and certainly not Made in China. Venison is the easiest meat for dogs to digest. $107.99 per bag which feeds my girls breakfast and dinner for about two months. It seems expensive but constant trips to a vet for gastrointestinal problems costs a heck of a lot more.
I’m home most of the time, but not all the time. Sure as the sun shines, delivery made, bag gone. Chewy sent a replacement order. Two months later it happened again. I said, that’s it. My disabled brother lives about 3 miles from me, downstairs apartment and home all day as he can’t drive. Henceforth, all deliveries where the company won’t ship to a PO Box gets shipped to Richard’s apartment and that took care of that.
I know families are scattered all over the country but if you’re having a package delivered and you work during the day, consider having it shipped to a friend or relative you know is home. Or, perhaps even to where you work where practical. Or, when you’re ordering request Saturday delivery.
Beware as this is BIG business. Most people know you shouldn’t send cash in the mail. While it wasn’t cash, let me tell you what happened to my brother this past May sending a money order. Two daughters, one in California, one in South Carolina. Because Richard, a double stroke victim, has difficulty writing and some cognizant impairment (yes, I do help him but sometimes he’s stubborn), he filled out the MO to my niece in South Carolina who received the card and the $250.00 MO.
However, he simply forgot and didn’t fill out the MO to my niece in California. $250.00. She never received the card or MO. I then had to track the MO through the company who sells them at Walmart. My brother had to pay $18.00 to get a copy of the front and back of the MO. That’s when I began phone calls.
I spoke with our Postmaster General (in person) who then called his friend who is a Postmaster General in El Paso. That Postmaster General called me and referred me to a USPS Special Agent in Dallas. My Postmaster General had faxed the paperwork to El Paso who then faxed it to the special agent in Dallas.
On the phone with that special agent, I find out he is working a task force because of the large mail theft going on in Lubbock, TX, 100 miles north of me. He said thieves focus on envelopes that look like birthday, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas cards. My brother’s case was then included in their investigation.
I spoke with the detective in Lubbock who handled my brother’s stolen mail; I had to file a police report. How did Richard’s mail go from Big Spring to be cashed at a Walmart 100 miles away? Mail from Big Spring goes first to Midland (40 miles west of me) and then on to the destination, not Lubbock.
They don’t know yet, but that’s what the USPS special agents are trying to find out. Anyway, the thief used some woman’s name and address but had to produce picture ID to cash the MO. That’s how they found him along with video surveillance from Walmart showing the thief at the exact time he cashed the MO.
When they arrested this thief and executed a search warrant, the police found two huge bags of USPS mail in his residence. The DA has charged him;he’s going to prison for a long time. My brother will never be able to get his money back from that thief who already had a rap sheet. All of this took a lot of my time.
Other victims of mail fraud are those who use USPS to get their prescriptions. Pills are a big target for thieves and it’s easy to determine if an envelope, even a padded one, has pills. Just shake it. This can have deadly consequences for someone waiting for their heart medication, not to mention monthly bills not arriving, legal documents or mail which contains your SSN or bank statements.
Mail theft is a massive on-going problem for the USPS. The question in my brother’s case is where did the thief get those two bags of USPS mail? We’ve all seen news items here and there were a postal worker was busted:
Trash bags of undelivered mail found outside a postal worker’s home in Pennsylvania, Oct. 13, 2020, 8 bags. “Special agents with the US Postal Service discovered undelivered mail in trash bags placed on the curb for pickup outside the home of a postal employee in Baldwin, Pennsylvania.”
Postal Worker Arrested After Mail-In Ballots Found in Dumpster – New Jersey “1,875 pieces of mail he was supposed to deliver – including 627 pieces of first-class, 873 pieces of standard class, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education.”
A postal worker rented a storage unit to hide mail because he felt ‘pressured’ to deliver it, Jan. 29, 2020. “The employee said he started hiding mail in November or December 2018 and he rented the storage unit in February 2019, according to court records.” He plead guilty and off to a federal cage.
USPS Worker Arrested for ‘Mail Stealing’ After 800 Pieces of Post and Ballots Found in His Trunk, June 11, 2020, NY – Ballots and other first-class mail
Postal worker pleads guilty to stashing mail at home, Raleigh, NC, August 18, 2008: “A subsequent search of the home found tens of thousands of pieces of mail, some dating to 1999, authorities said.”
I could go on but you get the ugly picture. As you can see by the dates, it’s an on-going problem.
Did the thief who stole Richard’s mail work for USPS? No. Someone in his family? Don’t know yet but that task force is trying to find out because that low life isn’t the only thief up in that region. I was told by all of them this type of theft is, sickeningly, growing over time. Not so much postal workers as run-of-the-mill thieves.
The task force special agent said the best way to fight this is to mail your birthday or holiday cards – especially if you’re enclosing a check or MO – use one of those 6 x9 brown envelopes and stick your pretty pink or red Christmas envelope inside. I shall be doing it myself next week when I send my cards.
Just wanted to pass this along so hopefully you, a friend or family member don’t become a victim. And, again, if you can make arrangements for deliveries for things you order on line, so much the better. Don’t let thieves ruin Christmas and the joy of giving.
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