Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,574 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just found this information at www.usps.com/postalinspectors/smashbox.htm:

"Mailboxes are considered federal property and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705) makes it a crime to vandalize them (and to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). VIOLATORS CAN BE FINED UP TO $250,000 OR IMPRISONED FOR UP TO THREE YEARS for each act of vandalism."

"Immediately report theft, tampering with, or destruction of, mail and mailboxes to your local postmaster. You will be asked to complete PS FORM 1510, Mail Loss and Rifling Report, or PS FORM 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint."

"Obtain LABEL 33 from the Postal Inspection Service. This sticker, which warns that willful damage to mailboxes and theft of mail is a crime, can be affixed to your mailbox."

When I called the Post Office today about our second mailbox being stolen, the clerk had no idea if there were any forms for me to fill out and suggested I call the Post Master tomorrow. I am going to be there with a printout of the page posted above. I want to fill out two PS FORM 2016 and I want a LABEL 33 sticker.

I would recommend everyone with a rural mailbox get one of these stickers and fill out the correct forms should your mailbox be stolen or vandalized. The only way to stop it is to do something about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,844 Posts
Maybe a year or more ago someone sent me a USPS money order for an eBay purchase. Didn't arrive. When they did a trace through the local P.O. it was found it had been cashed a day or two after he put it in his rural mailbox in a nearby town.

From what he told me a family was going around, stopping at mailboxes with the flag up and stealing contents. Regular carrier would find an empty box and think nothing of it. Apparently they even had the flashing white light on top of the car.

Caught when one of the regular carriers, on a day off, saw them making their rounds and called the local sheriff's office.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
Yes, I totally agree. That has been the law for a long, long time. The problem is enforcing it. Unless you can get your mailbox damage etc. listed as a terrorist act, Law enforcement has too many other things with higher priority. I went through the same feelings of " I will get those guys" and after a while I thought I could put my efforts into better things than revenge. Also consider the liability issue of if you booby trap your mail box and someone gets hurt. The lawyers will take your property and you are the one who will go to jail.

What I am saying, think it entirely through before you do anything rash. There are more important things in life than a mail box.

Bob
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,574 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Not sure where you got the idea we were going to do something rash. We're going to make sure this is taken care of legally. I posted this because I felt it was info all rural box owners should know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Ravenlost said:
Not sure where you got the idea we were going to do something rash. We're going to make sure this is taken care of legally. I posted this because I felt it was info all rural box owners should know.
Whatever make you feel good, but the fact is that calling your local post office about a damaged mailbox is slightly less effective than a ranting letter to the editor in your local rag. Unless you catch them red handed, the offender has a 99.9999% chance of never being caught, much less prosecuted. Amazingly, family members in our house were within sight of our box when TWO separate idiots ran it over last year. One was a drunk. The other was city trash with a bald tire shod SUV full of unbelted kids. She was amazed to discover that four wheel drive didn't make her invincible, when speeding around a curve on 2" of snow and ice. Both paided up. As for calling the local dip#@ts at our post office, I wouldn't waste the call.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,076 Posts
I was horribly disappointed when miscreants were caught damaging mailboxes here locally and the USPS postal inspectors asked the local county prosecutor to handle it.

This was a real chance to send a message to mailbox vandals that postal vandalism is a federal offense with severe punishment, but they totally blew it. For shame. I expect those bashing mailboxes were simply put on probation if even that. They'll probably get their three strikes later in life as a result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
Ravenlost said:
"Mailboxes are considered federal property and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705) makes it a crime to vandalize them (and to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). VIOLATORS CAN BE FINED UP TO $250,000 OR IMPRISONED FOR UP TO THREE YEARS for each act of vandalism."

"Immediately report theft, tampering with, or destruction of, mail and mailboxes to your local postmaster. You will be asked to complete PS FORM 1510, Mail Loss and Rifling Report, or PS FORM 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint."
Ever stop to think that it is a crime for YOU to remove that mailbox as well?

"Mailboxes are considered federal property "
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,251 Posts
Thanks Ravenlost, for posting this info, it is good to know. Although, there doesn't seem to be much force behind this law in most places.

Unfortunately, in the last few years the most "vandalism" done to our box has been by the darn county snowplows. Twice this past winter they took out everybody's boxes along a stretch of our road, even breaking off the wooden posts ! Try getting one govt. agency to do something about what another one does...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,307 Posts
Maibox vandalism and tampering is not investigated or prosecuted by local law enforcement. It falls under the jurisdiction of the postal inspectors. When a lot of boxes on our route were hit, the Postal Inspectors caught the vandals within a few weeks.
 

·
Five of Seven
Joined
·
3,295 Posts
palani said:
Ever stop to think that it is a crime for YOU to remove that mailbox as well?

"Mailboxes are considered federal property "
It's not a crime for you to remove your own mailbox, but messing with someone else's mailbox or mail is illegal. :nono:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,349 Posts
Raven, don't waste your time, the P. I.'s have bigger fish to fry. This used to be taken seriously but if they did take a report I would be amazed if anything ever comes of it.

I was a rural carrier for 25 plus years, retiring about 6 years ago. It got to the point I didn't even bother to report mail box vandalism like we were supposed to. It was just more paperwork for me and was never acted upon.

Shortly before I retired a customer called and asked me to hold his mail at the PO, someone had stolen the box. It was a very distinctive decorated box on a carved cedar post sitting in a hand painted milk can.

Less than 2 miles down the route, there it was, sitting at the end of a driveway with the flag up and letters to be picked up. The "stick on" address numbers and name letters were laying on the ground around the milk can where the thief had ripped them off and thrown them down.

I called the Postmaster and told him, he said to pick up the letters and numbers, put them in something and bring them back to him. He went out and took pictures of the box.

After he filed the report an inspector called and told thim to tell the customer to go and get his box. That was it! No arrest, no investigation, no inspector ever came or called again. End of case.

Good luck getting anything done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
65284 said:
Raven, don't waste your time, the P. I.'s have bigger fish to fry. This used to be taken seriously but if they did take a report I would be amazed if anything ever comes of it.

I was a rural carrier for 25 plus years, retiring about 6 years ago. It got to the point I didn't even bother to report mail box vandalism like we were supposed to. It was just more paperwork for me and was never acted upon.
I understand your frustration, but I disagree. Just because it may be more work/paperwork doesn't mean that doing the right thing is a waste of time. Even if the higher-ups didn't do anything about it. Just my opinion.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,574 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I agree Autumngrey.

65284 I was a mail carrier for five years. I understand the frustration, but I've always been a stickler for doing what's right. If enough people filed the correct forms, enough mail carriers filed the correct forms, etc. eventually these things would have to be inspected.

It is in our inaction that vandalism and other such acts continue to escalate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
746 Posts
My neighbor has in the past had his mailbox hit repeatedly. He lives on the "drunk drivers" route, the back road that all the people take when they've hit the bars.

After many reports and no action he finally installed a piece of rail road track buried vertically sticking up about 18" about 5 feet from his mail box. Not high enough to kill anyone or cause them bodily harm but high enough to rip out the undercairage of most vehicles.
Needless to say the offending drunk only tried to hit it one last time.

In the past we have only lost our box once, I believe someone was playing "baseball", driving by and giving them a whack with a bat.
The postal inspector came by and asked for my report, a month later the boys were caught and fined several hundred dollars a piece.
I and all my neighbors never saw a dime.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,056 Posts
Growing up our neighbor across the street had a mail box at the top of a hill .His mailbox kept getting whacked with a ball bat.After replacing several and calling the police he decided to take matters into his own hands(he was a bit of a hothead).On a friday he filled his box with concrete and put it back up.Sure enough that night the box whackers came by.The next day ,by his mail box he found a baseball bat broken in half. The next week in school ,the boys we suspected of this showed up ,one had a huge cast covering his whole arm and shoulder,a huge bruise on his face.The driver had a big dent in his pretty black firebird.The police came by the neighbors house and arrested him .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,994 Posts
And wouldn't you know, the local Mary Kay lady that lives on my street got all insulted that after the second time of her putting her advertisments in my box I called her up and told her it was a federal crime to do so and that I'd report her to USPS the next time I found any of her advertisments in my box.

She called be back with a long spew about how nobody else minds and that "we're all family" down this road, blah blah blah. Still doesn't change the fact that it's still tampering with my mail box and it's still a federal crime.

Reese
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,694 Posts
Good for you, Ravenlost.

It becomes a numbers game. The more people who take the time to fill out the forms & complain, eventually get thing done as it reaches a point that the "higher ups" can't ignore the amount of complaints.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top