The darker side of the holiday season—and may be the result of the recession—has reared its head in our neighborhood. The theft of mail. Saturday, as we sat happily painting cinnamon ornaments and listening to Christmas carols, my husband came in with the contents of our mailbox. We have a large rural box as well as a PO Box on Fox Island. The children and I get our mail on Fox Island which is inconvenient, but safe. My husband gets his mail at the house because the three miles to the FI PO is not on his way anywhere. I don’t mind the trip, although I admit to only going once per week at best. Oftener if I’m expecting checks.
The mail that was in our box was for a two families several blocks away and had all been opened. Even the Wildlife Federation 2009 calendar. Clearly thieves were looking for checks and/or cash that might have been in Christmas cards, but they’d also opened credit card and mortgage statements. We located them in the Gig Harbor phone book and called them. None of us is surprised at this turn of events although it hasn’t happened in about 12 years which is when I got the PO Box and at least they stuffed the mail into someone’s box instead of tossing it into the snow somewhere. We can’t help but wonder where our mail went.
This morning I called the Pierce Co. Sheriff's department and am waiting to give a statement over the phone which will do nothing, but make me feel like I'm doing something. I doubt if thes folks will be caught or our mail found, but it's upsetting to realize that we could be sitting inside the house at twilight, watching the snow fall, and have someone creeping around the neighborhood going through mail.
Of course you should not leave anything in your mailbox over night and certainly not mail anything that contains anything of value from an unsecured box. Mail theft leads to the theft of money and identity. My husband likes to write bills after he returns from his swing shifts and used to put the envelopes with checks in them into the mailbox at 2 AM. He did until we had checks stolen and washed.
Whether it is a sign of the times or just plain criminal thievery, stealing this time of year is the dark and ugly side of the holidays or any day.