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To Catch a Mail Thief - Update #2 Trap is Set

WootloopsWootloops Registered User
edited January 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So, it seems recently I've been told by my aunt that her mail has been missing and she suspects someone in the apartment building of stealing it. I assumed it was just her usual paranoia; hell the woman thinks people are spying on her through her cell phone camera, until the past week or two when some packages and letters of mine have started to go missing. Namely, video games from either Amazon or Gamefly. How do I know they've been stolen? Well, aside from them missing - I found a torn open Gamefly envelope the other afternoon on my stoop.

I've taken all the obvious steps in informing Gamefly, Amazon and the USPS about the mail theft but am left feeling pretty pissed off and vindictive. It's likely all of the above will be replaced without charge, but it isn't about the money - it's that I shouldn't have to worry about my fucking mail being stolen.

My question is this: Are there any other steps I can take to ensure the safe delivery of my packages short of staking out my mailbox?

For context, I live in a house with about 4 or 5 different families. I'm on the 2nd floor. The third floor has some extended family (aunt/cousins) that I doubt would steal from me simply because I can easily go upstairs and go through their crap. Which I might do right now.

The first floor is the issue. From my understanding, theres 3 or 4 families living in separate 1 BR / Studio apartments. One of them I know well and she has on many an occasion informed me of packages that I may have missed. The others are the ones I suspect - they have both a visual of where the mail is dropped off (outside their door in the foyer) and easy accessibility without anyone noticing.

I'm pretty fed up with this bullshit already - what can I do short of glitter bombing these fucks?

Wootloops on
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Posts

  • CristoCristo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    First thing I'd look for: ethnic minorities in the building.

    JUST KIDDING! :D

    I'd definitely not suggest going through your extended families stuff, since I can't imagine they'd be appreciative of you doing that if they caught you.

    Do you know when your mail gets delievered? You could always hang around to see if anyone comes and knicks it after it's been delievered. Like a stakeout, or a sting.

    Unlucky wrote: »
    So, after having read all of his stuff, Pony's officially my hero now. I wish I could be that callous towards humanity.
  • skettiosskettios Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    We had a thread on this recently and I think we came to the conclusion that the best deterrent was some kind of alarm device which would activate once the package had been opened.

    Edit:
    I had a similar problem once, I went the "noisy" revenge route.

    At my old work, we used to sell these sort of sonic alert things. Basically it was a small grenade shaped object with a pin. When you removed the pin, it emitted an extremely high pitched alarm sound that doesn't shut off until the pin is replaced. I believe they were originally intended as rape whistles or something.

    Anyways, I had some stupid fucking old man stealing my packages. I knew it was him because I saw him toss out the box for my package once, and when I called him on it he raised hell with the strata council saying I was harassing a senior. I was well liked in the building so the charge didn't stick, but I couldn't get the old fuck either. So revenge it was.

    I got one of the sonic emitters (or as I started calling them, Sonic Grenades), and deliberately broke the pin so that it couldn't be replaced (except by me of course), put it in a box and rigged it so when the package was opened, the pin would be pulled out and wouldn't be able to be replaced. Stuck all the traditional packaging on it and put it in the mailroom where packages usually get left.

    Later I come home to find a bunch of angry residents yelling at the Land lord and the beautiful sound of high pitched alarm bells filling the building. Apparently the ringing had been going on for hours and people were getting really pissed (why no one just took apart the stupid thing is beyond me, but whatever). The old guy was just standing there looking guilty, but he did flash a glare at me long enough for me to smirk back.

    I guess he didn't like that as he starts yelling about how it was my package and how I'm mailing bombs and I'm a terrorist who hates old people, to which I calmly responded: "If it was my package, why were you opening it?" before laughing in his face and casually moving on.

    He got evicted and charged, he tried to get the cops to arrest me for mailing bombs or whatever but the cops just hit me with a mischief misdemeanor and then dropped that later.

    The best thing about it is that none of the other residents think I had anything to do with it, they all believe that "nasty old man" was just trying to get out of trouble by blaming me.

  • CristoCristo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Haha that's epic

    Unlucky wrote: »
    So, after having read all of his stuff, Pony's officially my hero now. I wish I could be that callous towards humanity.
  • WootloopsWootloops Registered User
    edited January 2010
    skettios wrote: »
    Talk to your landlord

    On that right now. Fucker is hard to contact unless he wants money. We'll see what he suggests.

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  • Kevin R BrownKevin R Brown __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2010
    Cameras work wonders. Is there a place you can set one up to film your mailbox from?

    ' As always when their class interests are at stake, the capitalists can dispense with noble sentiments like the right to free speech or the struggle against tyranny.'
  • edited January 2010
    I was just thinking about the thing DDV quoted up there. A camera would be nice, too. That way you could at least show it to the landlord and say 'look this is the twerp who's doing it, can you do something please'

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  • TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Isn't that a federal offense?

    Edit: Opening someone else's mail.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Yes.

    Unless you have power of attorney. Or a warrant.

    Otherwise yeah.

  • MightyMighty Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    that sonic bomb revenge is gold. Mail thieves deserve what they get.

    see if you can get a dye pack from a bank!

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    Gamertag - Mightyvvhitey
  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Captain East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Mighty wrote: »
    that sonic bomb revenge is gold. Mail thieves deserve what they get.

    see if you can get a dye pack from a bank!

    Those are quite dangerous if they get in your eyes/face area. I'd avoid the dye packs.

    I do like the Sonic Grendade idea. There's also some pretty sweet/cheap webcam powered monitoring systems out there.



  • Captain VashCaptain Vash Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Careful with the camera route.

    putting up cameras can create "an expectation of safety" or some other such legal nonsense and you can get nailed for not having specific video records if something goes down.

    pretty that's from an episode of law and order though, so, take it with a grain of salt.

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  • ThomamelasThomamelas Bro!Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Careful with the camera route.

    putting up cameras can create "an expectation of safety" or some other such legal nonsense and you can get nailed for not having specific video records if something goes down.

    pretty that's from an episode of law and order though, so, take it with a grain of salt.

    That's actually true but it really only applies to dummy cameras. There are exceptions for mechanical and software failures.

  • CasualCasual flap flap flap wiggle wiggle wiggle Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Exploding dye pack all the way. Frankly who cares if they get some paint in their eye? They shouldn't have been stealing someone elses mail.

    i write amazing erotic fiction

    its all about anthropomorphic dicks doing everyday things like buying shoes for their scrotum-feet
  • Mr BlondeMr Blonde Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Exploding dye pack all the way. Frankly who cares if they get some paint in their eye? They shouldn't have been stealing someone elses mail.

    He might care when he gets sued.

  • RepoMan1023RepoMan1023 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Wootloops wrote: »
    My question is this: Are there any other steps I can take to ensure the safe delivery of my packages short of staking out my mailbox?
    Talk to the landlord/manager/owner and get them to install locked mail boxes. They even make ones with larger boxes on the bottom for packages (the mailman just leaves you the key to the larger one in your regular box). Call UPS, FedEx or whoever and tell them that you have to have a live person sign for all packages, no matter what it is. Problem solved.


    If you have all this and someone is still stealing your mail, as in breaking into your locked mail box, call the post office to report it and they might ask you to file a police report about it. As others have said, it is a Federal offense to steal mail.

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  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Captain East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Exploding dye pack all the way. Frankly who cares if they get some paint in their eye? They shouldn't have been stealing someone elses mail.

    The OP will, when he gets sued for assaulting someone with a dye pack.



  • HounHoun Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    In the short term, until you get things worked out, have all packages shipped to your workplace, if possible.

    Steam: DigitalArcanist | PSN: DigitalArcanist | NNID: DigitalArcanist | Backloggery: Houn
  • KajustaKajusta Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Dye packs from "banks" are usually not just dye, as one would think, but usually a mixture of dye and a caustic chemical to burn the money if they are broken.

    So you may not want to go that route.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I don't know. I think a video camera would be beneficial. Other than that, I would say find a new way of getting your packages delivered. You might even be able to call FedEx or whoever is mailing your shit at the time and ask them to just hold it for pick up. Sure, it may be a bit inconvenient; but I would rather do that than have some important package stolen in the future.

    parabol
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  • CristoCristo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Exploding dye pack all the way. Frankly who cares if they get some paint in their eye? They shouldn't have been stealing someone elses mail.

    The OP will, when he gets sued for assaulting someone with a dye pack.

    Christ, you Americans suck all the fun out of everything with your lawsuits and everything.

    Unlucky wrote: »
    So, after having read all of his stuff, Pony's officially my hero now. I wish I could be that callous towards humanity.
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2010
    I had to point this out in the last mail thread - dye packs aren't just paintballs with a charge to make them get ink everywhere. They are actually designed to also set the money on fire. Someone can very easily get 2nd or 3rd degree burns from one of them, especially if there's not a bunch of money around them to take in the energy.

    Contact the landlord first. Second, do the holding thing for now. Finally, see if you can make it so your mailbox can be locked. Does the mailman have to come inside?

  • ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Mr Blonde wrote: »
    Casual wrote: »
    Exploding dye pack all the way. Frankly who cares if they get some paint in their eye? They shouldn't have been stealing someone elses mail.

    He might care when he gets sued.
    i hope no one is stupid enough to go in front of a judge and admit to multiple counts of a federal crime as the basis for his whole claim

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  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Mr Blonde wrote: »
    Casual wrote: »
    Exploding dye pack all the way. Frankly who cares if they get some paint in their eye? They shouldn't have been stealing someone elses mail.

    He might care when he gets sued.
    i hope no one is stupid enough to go in front of a judge and admit to multiple counts of a federal crime as the basis for his whole claim

    It has happened before. It shall happen again.

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  • ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Tomanta wrote: »
    i hope no one is stupid enough to go in front of a judge and admit to multiple counts of a federal crime as the basis for his whole claim

    It has happened before. It shall happen again.
    i suppose. like the scumbag that was trying to break into a house, fell through the skylight, cut himself on a knife on kitchen counter and then sued the owner of the house.

    armedroberty.jpg
  • DrswordsDrswords Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Someone has broken into our car twice in the past 6 months. The last time they did it, they stole my mom's work computer. They actually had the gall to smash out the window both times.

    The police didnt care. At all. The guy was like... well i dont think we can catch them. And im like... can you at least pretend you care?

    Honestly, best advice you can get on trying to catch someone in the act is to invest in a monitoring system of sorts. Camera focused on the area you want watched.

    God. I hate people sometimes.

    I really am sorry someone is stealing your mail. I wish you the best of luck.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • WootloopsWootloops Registered User
    edited January 2010
    The sonic grenade sounds like a kickass idea, but I'd have no idea where to get one of those suckers. As for setting up a web-camera, that might be a possibility. Doesn't it still have to be wired to something to still function though? My apartment is pretty far off from the foyer. I definitely considered buying some cheap tripwire paintball mines, but I'd have to check the legality of that. I imagine so long as I don't force anyone to open a package, he's still in the wrong for stealing & tampering with mail (so long as the contents aren't lethal or hazardous).

    At any rate, I couldn't get in touch with the landlord but I did catch my postal carrier. She was pretty pissed off to hear that someone's been fucking with my mail and actually called the cops FOR me. Bless the woman, she cracked me up. Unfortunately, now any package that comes through USPS has to be picked up at the postal office. Bummer. Atleast it's close to work.

    We'll see how the police thing turns out as I have an idea of who it may have been now. One of the families downstairs have recently taken in a brother. He's been here about a month - pretty much when my mail started disappearing. I think we'll start there, with the landlords permission of course.

    Thanks for all the ideas and good wishes though guys! I'll update as the situation progresses.

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  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I had to point this out in the last mail thread - dye packs aren't just paintballs with a charge to make them get ink everywhere. They are actually designed to also set the money on fire. Someone can very easily get 2nd or 3rd degree burns from one of them, especially if there's not a bunch of money around them to take in the energy.

    Contact the landlord first. Second, do the holding thing for now. Finally, see if you can make it so your mailbox can be locked. Does the mailman have to come inside?

    2nd'ing this. I work with them on a daily basis and had one accidentally detonate inside a bank branch as well.

    Suffice to say, those things, in addition to spitting pink dye powder that literally stains your skin bright pink for over a week, have a fairly potent explosive detonating charge to spread the die and destroy the money nearby (it's basically assuming the money will be carried in a pouch/bag by the robber) and some varieties will have tear gas/pepper spray/powder loaded into the detonating chamber as well.

    Put it this way, one, just ONE dyepack that detonated cleared out a 10,000 square foot office building the bank was in because the gas/dye/powder got into the air vents and started spreading through the building.

    So yeah, handle with care heh... :)

  • fightinfilipinofightinfilipino legally competent Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Drswords wrote: »
    Someone has broken into our car twice in the past 6 months. The last time they did it, they stole my mom's work computer. They actually had the gall to smash out the window both times.

    The police didnt care. At all. The guy was like... well i dont think we can catch them. And im like... can you at least pretend you care?

    Honestly, best advice you can get on trying to catch someone in the act is to invest in a monitoring system of sorts. Camera focused on the area you want watched.

    God. I hate people sometimes.

    I really am sorry someone is stealing your mail. I wish you the best of luck.

    while the police officer might have presented a more pleasant demeanor to you, smaller stolen goods like laptops and such are nigh impossible to locate once stolen. it's somewhat scary to think about, and it's a good reason to never store valuables in your car if it's parked outside.

    the same goes for stolen mail. it really sucks.

    hey OP, have you already spoken with local law enforcement? i would also talk with the local postmaster (to report the thefts) and your mail delivery person(s) to see if they might be able to hold packages for you at the post office or some other reasonable way to secure your stuff.

    either that, or just have things delivered to your mom's place of work.

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  • RepoMan1023RepoMan1023 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Drswords wrote: »
    Someone has broken into our car twice in the past 6 months. The last time they did it, they stole my mom's work computer. They actually had the gall to smash out the window both times.

    The police didnt care. At all. The guy was like... well i dont think we can catch them. And im like... can you at least pretend you care?
    And the officer is thinking, "or you could have learned to not leave anything of importance in your car after it was broken into the first time."

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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2010
    Put out a package with a bomb inside. Problem solved.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Tomanta wrote: »
    i hope no one is stupid enough to go in front of a judge and admit to multiple counts of a federal crime as the basis for his whole claim

    It has happened before. It shall happen again.
    i suppose. like the scumbag that was trying to break into a house, fell through the skylight, cut himself on a knife on kitchen counter and then sued the owner of the house.

    That is a misrepresented tale.

    While he may have been a burglar the courts decided (and his story was) that he was playing basketball and he was attempting to realign the spotlight so they could see what they were doing when he fell though. Also he did not win, he settled.

    http://overlawyered.com/2006/09/the-burglar-and-the-skylight-another-debunking-that-isnt/ here is a clarifying link on it.

    If you break the law you waive all rights to sue someone as they cannot be held accountable against someone breaking the law.

  • CristoCristo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I think you should put a viper in the fake package.

    Unlucky wrote: »
    So, after having read all of his stuff, Pony's officially my hero now. I wish I could be that callous towards humanity.
  • SlagmireSlagmire Registered User
    edited January 2010
    File a police report.

  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I'm not advocating trying to hide something illegal, but I'm also trying to figure out how someone could get in trouble for anonymously mailing a dye pack to themselves.

    "I don't know, I'm not that popular at work, it could've been any of my coworkers or former friends playing a terrible prank on me...no, of course I didn't know my neighbor was stealing my mail! This is shocking and appalling."

    3DS Friend Code: 0989 - 1731 - 9504
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  • TubeTube Says some shit Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited January 2010
    Will you idiots please stop advising people to send fucking explosive devices through the mail?

  • dwwatermelondwwatermelon Registered User
    edited January 2010
    The sonic booby trap is good stuff. Anything involving explosives is retarded. You want to solve the problem at hand, not replace it with with a shitstorm of people calling the cops on you and sueing you. Even if you win the lawsuit you're going to be out a fuckload in legal fees. Not worth it. Paintball mines are also a bad idea.

    Do a stakeout and take pictures, put up a webcam, or rig yourself up a box of something loud.

  • MightyMighty Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    there are wireless webcams that are purchasable online. they upload video to a website or to a receiving card. if you have a mailbox that is being plundered, make a false back and pinhole the camera there.

    If it is an office or a basket, get the landlord involved and ask permission to install it somewhere you can observe the face of the thief

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    Gamertag - Mightyvvhitey
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Bro!Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Mighty wrote: »
    there are wireless webcams that are purchasable online. they upload video to a website or to a receiving card. if you have a mailbox that is being plundered, make a false back and pinhole the camera there.

    If it is an office or a basket, get the landlord involved and ask permission to install it somewhere you can observe the face of the thief

    You still need to power a camera. And placement in a hallway or small room requires something a bit more robust then a cheap webcam screwed into drywall. Any installation like that can expect to have the cameras ripped off by vandals in a few days.

  • Bigtoy_JBigtoy_J Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Wootloops wrote: »
    TAs for setting up a web-camera, that might be a possibility. Doesn't it still have to be wired to something to still function though?

    If you are sligtly technically inclined you can grab a cheap Point and Shoot Cannon camera and install a version of CHDK on it (http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK). It is relatively straight forward to get CHDK installed

    One of the scripts available on CHDK is a "picture on motion detection". I fully expect the camera could hold a charge long enough during the day to grab the pics around mail time, and some of these cameras are small enough to hide. Just make sure to turn the flash off.

    Love George Bernard Shaw quotations.

    Also, I can count to "boat".
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