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Monday, December 22, 2008

An Ugly Side of the Holidays

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.


Lorraine Hart said...

There should be some kick-a** instant karma for this lack of honour and respect.

Mizu Sugimura said...

I am so sorry to hear of this distressing but increasingly more common turn of events which ultimately leads (or has led) to more pain and economic hardship for everyone.

May the joy of the season not be completely blighted by these irresponsible actions.

Kim Thompson said...

We had this problem in our neighborhood years ago with our rural boxes. So we all pitched in and got a locking postal suite of mailboxes. It's great! And safe. While it was expensive at the onset, it was worth it for piece of mind.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Here's what I learned from the substitute carrier today. She told me that no mail was delivered to our house on Saturday so the thief didn't get our incoming mail, but may have taken a Christmas card or two that was going out.

I called the GH PO and the Sheriff. The Sheriff's department took my statement and the PO is sending me a form. And the good news is that I made it down the hill to the FI PO and got our mail today. If I could get my husband to have his stuff delivered to our Fox Box there'd be no problem. Fortunately he seldom receives checks in the mail and he never, never puts them out there. They go into an approved Postal Box.