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  • Neighborhood kids robbing mailboxes...

    This is a two-part problem/question.
    I'll put the short of it at the end, and the details in between, if you don't want to read the long story, please skip to the end...

    This is the situation: I live in a triplex in what I would call a decent neighborhood, several LEOs live just a few houses down from me, park their cars by the street, etc.

    There are a number of neighborhood kids running around, especially since it is summer and school is out. Almost every day they come running to my house in the afternoon so they can pet my roommate's dog, or sit on her motorcycle, etc.

    My roommate made the mistake of letting them into our house (i wanted to kill her!) to use her laptop computer for a minute, so they have been in the house, and now they come over every day expecting the same type of treatment. The kids seem nice enough, and they are generally polite, but this irks me. I work all day, and I don't have kids of my own, and I don't want to babysit when I come home from work! 1) How do I politely tell these kids they can't just be hanging around all the time, or coming over every day to play?

    The second issue, and it may be an entirely different issue, is that someone in our neighborhood has been stealing mail. My neighbors told me about a week or two ago that someone stole their rent check they were mailing out to our landlady... They know this because whoever stole the check left their envelope ripped open inside of their mailbox. A few days later, someone put the check back into their box with a note saying they'd found it somewhere down the street...

    A month ago I ordered a package from amazon.com. As of yesterday, I still hadn't received it... I thought this was a little strange, and I contacted the seller yesterday with regard to this. The seller said they'd sent it priority mail on may 11...

    Last night, my neighbors came over and asked if I had been expecting a package, and I said yes, they held up a white packaging envelope, ripped open, with nothing inside. He also held another packing envelope belonging to someone else in the neighborhood, and a victorias secret box as well. Someone is stealing mail and packages from our mailboxes. The neighbors found all of these things ripped open and strewn about under the bushes near their house. The victorias secret stuff (bathing suits) were scattered on the ground, one piece was found in the road, etc. Obviously whoever stole this package had no use for this, which leads me to believe it was kids.

    The other thing that makes me think it is someone fairly young is that they are leaving the packages strewn about after stealing the contents.

    The neighbors called our Police Department yesterday and spoke with an officer who told them to keep track of traffic in our area, try to get pictures of people, etc... and they would do an investigation.

    So, today my neighbor is staking out the mailbox, he's sitting in his office with a camera, and going to take pics of kids who hang around. I hate to assume that it is the kids that come to my house all the time, but it just seems very likely...

    Stealing mail is a federal offense, yes? This is quite a serious matter- and now I am wondering, if it is NOT the kids stealing the mail, and it's someone older, have they taken other things from my mailbox? Bills?? What if someone has my credit card number, etc... This is freaking me out. I think i'm going to call the post office and ask them to hold my mail until we can figure out who is doing this.

    In the meantime, I'm expecting another package...Hopefully we can catch them intercepting it this time...

    Sorry that was so long...Lots of details in this one. SO, the short of it is:


    Problem number 1: How do I (nicely) get these kids to stop hanging out on my porch and waiting for us to get home so they can pet the doggies?

    Problem number 2: How do I get whoever is stealing the mail (possibly the kids) caught so they stop doing it?

  • #2
    Stealing mail MAY be a federal offense, but I don't think it is unless stolen from a federal institution.

    It's not the kids stealing checks, most likely. Were I you, I'd recruit these kids to keep an eye on the mailboxes.

    Got lots of kids in my neighborhood. They're good kids, don't mess things up, and are in the street all the time. They would make a great "Neighborhood Watch" if someone recruited them.

    Or, you could get one of those cheap security camreas that work from your computer and install in discreetly in the mailbox area. These are pretty cheap, and work fine for a limited distance.
    "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"


    • #3
      yeah...i'm reluctant to approach these particular kids about it, because they seem to be good kids- aside from being a little annoying by wanting to play with the dogs all the time, they are very polite, etc. two are 9 years old, and one often has his 4 year old brother with him . (That in itself is an entirely different issue, I can't BELIEVE their mother lets her 4 year old son go running around the neighborhood unsupervised!)...

      but doesn't it seem like a rather juvenile thing to raid someone's mailbox and then leave the packaging right there at the scene? also- they stole my item (which was a playstation2 videogame), and left the victoria's secret stuff behind... Seems like a youngster would be more apt to do those sorts of behaviors than someone a little older. And, even though someone stole the check initially, it was returned a few days later, with a note..This makes me think maybe the mother caught them in the act and returned it or something...

      Hopefully we'll see something soon that can nip this in the bud... Not cool.

      There are some older kids wandering around too, I saw one walking down the street smoking yesterday, so I'm wondering if it could possibly be him instead, but I can't make any kind of determination without actually seeing them in the act.

      I like your idea about deputizing the kids to watch the mailboxes, but if it actually is them, that won't help any, will it? AND, it will compound my other problem, which is that they are hanging around my house too much to begin with!

      Meh... I just don't know what to do. Hopefully my neighbor can get some good photos of everyone that wanders up and down the street today.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Presence View Post
        Meh... I just don't know what to do.
        Have you thought about getting yourself a PO box? I know it's a pain going down to the PO to get your mail, but it may be worth it for a while.
        "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson



        • #5
          exCompton, yes...that may be what i have to do. i'm getting worried about someone stealing all my credit card statements... It's a royal pain in the you-know-what, and unfortunately, it may be the only solution...


          • #6
            A kid would find it hard to cash a check, which makes me think it's an adult. But maybe not. And a kid would sure take a Victoria's Secret stuff. Heck, I would if I were a kid!

            Those cameras can be had at Best Buys for less than a hundred bucks, including the software.
            "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"


            • #7
              but the check was returned to my neighbors a few days later with a note saying it was found down the street...- they didn't try to cash it.

              and, the package they ripped open that was mine had a video game in it...The other package had a t-shirt...and they left the victoria's secret stuff alone, other than ripping open the bags it came in...

              seems like general mischief...but in case its more serious, i think i'm going to get a p.o. box... sucks, but what else can i do? i don't want some punk running up all the cards I've been working my tail off to pay off!! and then getting new ones in my name...


              • #8
                There are some disadvantages of a PO Box. For instance, I order a lot of stuff through Amazon myself and they generally ship UPS. UPS will not deliver to my PO Box. I have arranged for the manager of my apartment complex to sign for my packages...and they must be signed for.

                Those might be good kids that are coming around and may not be responsible for it but I'd have a word with them. You would be surprised at how much kids observe whats going on (sometimes kids are our best witnesses to things like this..especially during the daytime hours when a majority of the adults are away).

                Let them know that something is going on and you are trying to get to the bottom of it. What I would do is not accuse them of it but say enough to them to scare them a bit should it be them, such as telling them a witness has come forward and told the police who it is but the police haven't told you yet. If they are guilty, a comment like that may instill a little fear that the heat is on...even if its not. This is a tactic I use frequently in my job...and even if it doesn't always solve past crimes, it helps prevent future crimes.


                • #9

                  I think that is a great idea...If i see the kids today I'll ask them to keep a look out for the person that is stealing stuff from the mailboxes, because the police know who it is, but I don't... etc... It just may work.

                  And, I'm in the same situation as you, I order a lot online...and i'll never get my packages if this keeps up. and, i don't live in an apartment, so there is no one to sign for them...


                  • #10
                    It's not kids stealing mail, it is meth users. They do it not just to cash a check and get quick cash, but for identity theft. Mail theft is huge, and almost all of it is done by meth users. All meth users are thieves, and the vast majority are involved in identity theft.

                    Get a PO box, and alert your neighbors to the problem.
                    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


                    • #11
                      I have anything larger than an envelope delivered to my work address. There is always someone at the front desk during business hours to sign for the package. All you need to do is call your credit card company and add the address to your account. What could be safer and more secure than having your packages delivered to a police station? It's also where I have my check reorders sent.
                      Running is not a plan, running is what you do when a plan fails. -Tremors


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                        It's not kids stealing mail, it is meth users. They do it not just to cash a check and get quick cash, but for identity theft. Mail theft is huge, and almost all of it is done by meth users. All meth users are thieves, and the vast majority are involved in identity theft.

                        Get a PO box, and alert your neighbors to the problem.
                        Around here, just about all ID thefts are from the internet. Very few businesses mail info that can be used by ID theives, as they know what's going on.

                        Charges on credit cards are likely to come from out west, or New York, wherever.

                        Meth heads are indeed theives. Scum of the earth. I remember when it took a degree in Chemistry and precussor chemicals to make the stuff...now any doofus with a 5th grade education and ammonia can make it.
                        "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"


                        • #13
                          Hmm...while the possibility exists that it could be meth users...I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I very much disagree that this is the case in my neighborhood.

                          The one check that I know of that was stolen was returned several days later, with a note indicating that it was found up the street. I think it was kids, because they would have no idea what to do with a check. Their mother probably found it and made them give it back.

                          I had a check come to me the other day in the mail, and received a package yesterday that I'd ordered before I figured out we had a theft problem.

                          anyway, all that being said, i agree with you, meth heads are definitely losers, and probably thieves on all sorts of levels. I'm definitely going to re-route all of my mail, though probably not to my office, as it gets opened at headquarters before it comes to me. :P

                          Guess mom and dad are going to start receiving all my mail again. Heh.


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