November 2, 1998
How to prevent mail theft
Postal Inspectors are actively investigating all information received concerning a local wave of mail thefts, use of counterfeit mail keys and the forging and cashing of checks stolen from the mail.
At the same time, The Postal Service is working to make mail theft more difficult. Until those responsible for the thefts have been caught, Postal Inspectors and the Postal Service offer the following tips to help prevent these crimes:
- Mail your checks at the workplace, post office or hand to USPS letter carrier.
- Mail should not be left over night in collection boxes. The last pick-up time is posted on the box. Most pick-ups are done by 4 p.m. in residential areas and 5 p.m. downtown.
- If you have experienced theft of mail, with checks stolen and/or altered with chemicals (or "washed"), report it to your bank and local Postal Inspectors' Office.
- When re-ordering checks at the bank, ask for tamper resistant checks that help prevent chemical alteration and counterfeiting.
- If you see anyone stealing or attempting to steal mail from any U.S. Postal Service collection box or other receptacle, contact the Postal Inspectors' Office.
Theft of mail is a federal offense punishable by 5 years in jail and fines up to $250,000.
A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone possessing stolen U.S. mail or U.S. Postal Service property.
Postal Inspectors may be reached at 206-442-6300.