LETTER: Reader Has Warning About Holiday Season Mail Thefts in Burien

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I wanted to report that last Wednesday (12/5) we had mail and packages stolen from our Burien mailbox. I was home at the time of the theft and checked my mailbox within 30 minutes of the package’s arrival according to tracking information. I can only assume these thieves were stalking the mail truck, watching for package deliveries. The packages were opened just a couple of blocks away, merchandise taken, and packaging left behind.

A kind neighbor brought the empty packaging back to our house.

I have reported this to the police, but also want to let residents know that just being home when their packages arrive is not necessarily good enough, since they are being taken almost immediately from the box.

I also wanted to suggest we have a forum where citizens could post descriptions of their stolen items. Purchasers could then check and see if what they’re buying from Craigslist or other local sales sites is listed. Other communities have implemented systems like this (in particular related to bicycle thefts) and successfully decreased the number of local thefts.

I feel like prevention starts in our communities, with individuals taking a stand and watching out for one another. Just reporting an incident to the police isn’t enough.

We must work together locally.

– Kara

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We’d like to encourage all who’ve suffered from recent mail thefts (or other crimes) to share their stories with other Readers of The B-Town Blog, either as a Letter to the Editor or as a Comment below. We believe that the more information that is shared, the better it is for the entire community…]

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11 Responses to “LETTER: Reader Has Warning About Holiday Season Mail Thefts in Burien”
  1. Ani says:

    Ugh so sorry this happened to you! This is the time of the year when mailoxes are hit the hardest. With Christmas around the corner, they count on gift cards and cash (yep, cash) being in the mail. Best prevention is to get a locking mailbox, although that’s not a guarantee either…

    • Marie R says:

      Last summer thieves took an outgoing bill/payment out of our “locking” mailbox and had checks made with our account number but with a new name and address. How much easier could we make it, we even raised the red flag to alert them of outgoing mail!

      We didn’t know there was a problem until we received a late notice on the bill. Soon after, the “new” checks started clearing. They bought gift cards and cigarettes, easy items to resell for cash and/or drugs. The bank wouldn’t do anything until we filed a police report. Th police said there was little they could do. It took months for our account to be credited. In the mean time, we were out hundreds of dollars.

      Locking mailboxes only protect what the mail carrier drops in, not what is waiting to be picked up, anything too large to fit inside the box, or anything left on your porch.

      Why would the post office have a problem with you replacing your current mailbox with a locking type if you pay for it and it is USPS approved? I would think it would be to their advantage.

    • DL says:

      I had a Amazon package stolen from my mailbox last week. The tracking said it was accepted by USPS on 12/5 and expected delivery was 12/6. My mailbox is on 5th S and 146th.

  2. Dyhana says:

    we’ve had bank statements stolen from the mailbox in the last year. The police don’t do anything besides issue you a report. The post office said we couldn’t get locking mailboxes, althugh there are several in our neighborhood. It wouldn’t help with packages.

    • elizabeth2 says:

      Having had mail stolen several times, a few suggestions.

      DO NOT put any outgoing mail with payment anywhere except in the US Post Office mail boxes. Having a locking mailbox does no good for outgoing mail as the lock does not protect outgoing mail, only what the letter carrier puts in it.

      We DID replace our mailbox with a locking mailbox. Before installing, I took the new mailbox to my local post office and checked that it was OK (it does say must have meet PO approval). I think something must have been misunderstood when you say that the PO said you cannot get one.

      In regards to packages, have your packages sent to something other than your home address…your work address, a family member’s work address, whatever.

      It is important that we all learn to take care of ourselves and that means taking reasonable precautions for today’s world.

  3. John says:

    Also don’t but your mail in your box with the flag up. It just tells thieves that the mail is in there. Also I think the locking boxes Dyhana was talking about are the neighborhood style locking boxes. If your local PO won’t help you can call Postmaster in Seattle. If enough people complain about it they will sometimes fix it. If not, call your Congressman. I’ve done it about the PO and calling your Congressman works. That’s why we pay them. Remember the squeaky wheel gets greased.

  4. KW says:

    We live in Burien and our mail is getting stolen. They got a hold of a bill, and tried to re-write it for $550! They also stole a package that we know of, and who knows what else. This has all been w/in the last couple of weeks. We are working on a locked mailbox, but in the meantime, this is NOT COOL!

  5. Zap-em says:

    Tell your mailman to wear rubber gloves when delivering your house and just hook up that metal mailbox to 220.. You`ll hear them scream just before their F*&^%*^G heart stops!

  6. Katherine says:

    Below is a link to the USPS site with information about installing different types of mailboxes. You need to provide your own and it needs to meet USPS standards. As one of the earlier poster’s stated the Post Office doesn’t sell or install mailboxes, but hardware/home improvement stores and the internet have lots of different models to choose from.

    In our neighborhood the mail is delivered to clusters of mailboxes rather than to the individual houses. A group of us went in together and built the structure and purchased the boxes (apartment style locking boxes) as well as two parcel lockers. One of the clusters sprang for a locking outgoing mailbox as well.

    For parcels, if neighbors or work aren’t a delivery option, consider using a private mail services provider such as the UPS Store by the Safeway on 152nd. They’re not free, but weighed against the cost of your time and the headaches of dealing with stolen mail or worse, stolen identity, you may find them worth the cost. Even for just a temporary or short-term basis.


  7. elizabeth2 says:

    If what you are looking for is an individual mailbox (not a group box as discussed above), I bought ours at the Ace Hardware in downtown Burien – friendliest place there is.

    The boxes they sell are the kind approved by the USPS, so just buy it and put it up. SImple and safe.

  8. Greg Duff says:

    Home Depot (and probably McClendons) sell locking mail boxes. I bought one last year and I have not had any problems since. The good ones run about $100.00 but the peace of mind is worth the price. When you buy your mailbox, it should say right on the packaging that it is USPS approved.

    I would like to put a plug in for Block Watch Programs. If every neighbor keeps an eye out for anything suspicious we could cut down on theft. The trick is to call the police the moment you suspect something is wrong. My fine neighbors kept my house from being broken into last month when they reported someone trying to get into my house. The person had the screens off my window but was scared off by my neighbors.

    If your neighborhood does not have a Block Watch Program, contact Burien Police to see how to set one up.

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