Someone stole items from our mailbox!
June 30, 2011 11:46 PM   Subscribe

Someone apparently opened a package in my mailbox and stole the mp4 player I had ordered from e-bay. There was no indication on the mailing envelope what the contents were: The person must have felt the package and guessed what it contained. They left the ripped open package on our porch, along with some other mail, and two Netflix envelopes, ripped open also, for a person further up the street. What do we do about this?
posted by ragtimepiano to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You should report the theft to the police as well as the USPS (assuming you're in the US). Aside from that, look into more secure mailboxes.
posted by asciident at 12:35 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

Are you cross enough about this to spend a couple hundred bucks on tracking down whichever local kid did it?

If so, buy the cheapest Android phone you can find, install Prey on it, then keep mailing it to yourself until it gets pinched.
posted by flabdablet at 12:42 AM on July 1, 2011 [9 favorites]

Someone kept stealing our Netflix movies, and in the end we had to have them delivered to our PO Box. We told the post office people and the postmaster, but I had the feeling it was some kind of prank by neighborhood kids.

Anyway, find out about PO Boxes and have your stuff delivered there, at least for a while.
posted by Tarumba at 3:57 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

You report it to the Post Office, the police, eBay, and the seller. Your insurance if you have any and want to make a claim.

Hopefully, the seller bought shipping insurance and can get you reimbursed or a replacement.

I think stealing mail is a big big crime. Talk to the post office, first.
posted by jbenben at 4:59 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I mean, I'm pretty sure stealing mail is a Federal rime, not a "prank." And they stole from not just your mailbox, but many others.

Call the post office.
posted by jbenben at 5:01 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Erg. "Federal Crime"
posted by jbenben at 5:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Definitely report it to the police and the post office: stealing the mail is a federal statute violation, which makes it worse than average everyday stealing.

You may not have evidence to help the case -- but when the cops pick up that meth-head and he's got an MP4 player and a couple DVDs matching your neighbor's description in his car, they'll know who to get it back to. And, if that MP4 player ends up at a local pawnshop, which will give the police an opportunity to catch the guy, too. Just giving up because you didn't see the guy and have no evidence doesn't mean the MP4 player is 100% lost.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Anecdote time: the used DVD stores in my city will not buy DVDs without a photo ID. When they check your ID, they write it down with all details of the sale. This is to prevent resale of stolen DVDs, natch.

My friends had a holiday break-in, in which, among other things, a number of DVDs were stolen. My friend found them at a used DVD store. One of the perps had sold them there, using his real ID and everything.

The moral of the story being, do check local pawn shops and used mechandise stores -- don't think "they wouldn't be that stupid". Petty theft really isn't the domain of criminal masterminds.
posted by endless_forms at 8:29 AM on July 1, 2011

When this happened to me, the cops said they couldn't do anything, and the post office said that unless the value of the items stolen was over $10K, they couldn't do anything either.

But like AzraelBrown says, it may turn up and so is worth reporting.
posted by Specklet at 9:22 AM on July 1, 2011

Bet a mailbox but get a box from a private service instead of a P.O. box.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2011

have important/expensive things shipped to you at work. or get a ups or mailboxes etc box. that's what we ended up having to do because our packages in our apartment building are stolen EVERY DAY.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

My mail gets stolen from the street-side box all the time. I ended up getting a PO box just like everyone else in my (rural) area.

You can report the theft to the Postmaster General, either by sending a letter, by telephone, or using an online form. Here's the official page with all the info.
posted by ErikaB at 1:23 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

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