Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Delivery intercepted

Continuing on yesterday’s subject of holiday thefts, there is another type of crime that we have been seeing in recent years: intercepted delivery of the United States mail.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a lot of grandmas send that card containing a five spot or a gift card.  During the past few years, we have had several cases where mail was stolen from curbside boxes, probably by thieves hoping to score a gift card or cash.  My guess is that there were many more of these offenses that went undetected and unreported. 

Make those gifts in person if you can, check to make sure the recipient actually received the card, and help us keep an eye out for anyone fooling around your neighbor’s mailbox.


Steve said...

Don't limit keeping any eye out for you neighbor's mailbox. Rather keep an eye out for any suspicious or outright illegal activity. I don't recommend actually confronting people about their behavior unless you're prepared for possible consequences. However, you can call police, turn on porch lights, call that neighbor who may be a victim, let your dog out in the yard, or anything that might bring attention to the fact that people may be watching.

I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that my own mother witnessed someone entering, or trying to enter, a number of cars as he passed by her house the other night at 1:30 a.m. It was obvious, or should have been, that they didn't all belong to him and that he was either trying to steal a car or items kept in them. She didn't call police because she wasn't wearing her dentures. At least, that was the excuse she gave me. I think in reality, she simply didn't think of calling fast enough, and the man was gone by the time she did think of it.

Anonymous said...

My mom does this - mails birthday and other cards with cash in them to her grandkids. They don't have a secure cluster mailbox where they live, just a regular curbside box. I've tried explaining till I'm blue in the face that she should just hand them to the grandkids, or else send the cards to their parents, work addresses. Dad just goes along to get along, and a son can tell their mom that they're being stupid, whereas if dad tells her that she's being stupid, a wife takes it quite differently.

Anyway, I'll even print this topic out and show it to her, and she'll say that she knows that the Chief is right - and then she'll continue on with her cash in the birthday card ritual, as if like they were still little kids (not older teens and young adults) and are still thrill at getting that rare piece of mail with their name on it.

Seriously, I doubt that even the Chief of Police in full dress uniform actually stopping by their house and explaining to mom that she shouldn't mail greeting cards with cash in them would do any good. She mails them to an insecure curbside mailbox, because she's always done it that way.

Tom Casady said...

Steve: Good point. Often just the hairy eyeball causes the nefarious malefactor to move along.

Steve said...

I had Mom sign up for the CrimeMapping program a while back. She got two emailed alerts today. It seems someone had articles taken from an unlocked vehicle about a block from her place, and a bicycle was stolen from a shed just a couple of house down from her place, both the same night as she witnessed the prowler. Now, she feels bad for not having called.

I think she was worried about having to look "presentable" to an officer coming to her door when she was already in her jamies and had taken out her teeth. I told her she could make the report without having to have an officer come to her door (they always ask me if I want contact with the responding officer when I call about something).

She may call next time, but she'd never have the nerve to give someone the "hairy eyeball".

Anonymous said...

Even after my extended leave of absence from LPD, apparently I still have a hairy eyeball. It's hard to explain, but I notice people that are up to no good, and they know I know what they are doing.

Just last night I was in a convenience store and saw someone that raised my hackles. Actually, I thought he was going to rob the place. After I left the building, I watched from the parking lot and he approached the clerk and tried to pass a hot check unsuccessfully.

I'm sure you get the same feelings when off-duty in plain clothes. It never goes away.


Steve said...


I found it interesting not too long ago when I found out that some convenience stores now ask people wearing "hoodies" to take them off when they come in the store. I'm not sure the tactic is a good one, as someone intending to rob the place may not be deterred, but rather annoyed by the request. And, customers who had no intent to rob would probably be annoyed as well. I think it's a little like the "no firearms" signs at many retailers. They certainly don't stop the criminals!

Anonymous said...

Steve-I was at a convenience store in the week before Halloween and a kid dressed all in black with a skull mask and a hoodie started to walk in the store as I was walking out. I have to admit I was planning my strategy for his exit, trying to determine where exactly I was so I could explain to the 911 operator where to send the troops. I gave the kid the "hairy eyeball" and he took off the mask as he entered. I don't know why, but it works, even though it's no longer my job.

I have a bank customer that has been held up 4 times in the last year. The employees say that anyone in a hoody or ballcap with big sunglasses freaks them out, and they have a sign posted on the door that says they aren't allowed. Everyone except the robbers comply.....


Anonymous said...

Last summer I entered a convenience shop to buy cigarettes, and found the clerk and 2 customers leaning against the counter, watching someone at the pumps. This kid looked to be up to something, and was dressed for the job. He stook outside his car for a couple of minutes looking back at us, and got back in and drove off. Too many hairy eyeballs for him!

Sharon Somers Orange, Ohio said...

Crime is elevated during the holidays, but do not be so quick to blame the common, on the street criminal, although, most of the time they are guilty. More and more, I have realized it is our United States Postal Employees who are rifeling through the mail and stealing the enclosed material, whether it be cash, gift card, jewelry. I work in a bank, and overheard another employee talk about her boyfriend, (postal employee), who gives her gifts, which is admitted to taking from mail addressed to another party. This is unbelievable but true and is not an isolated incident.