Dear Editor:A recent incident has several of us thinking that perhaps the free-standing blue postal mail boxes should fade away in the same manner that the old, ubiquitous corner telephone booth has gone. That telephone booth was a magnet for crime--used to make drug deals and buys.
The mail box has also apparently become a magnet for crime. Recently, one of the members of our local community nonprofit group dropped an envelope containing a check into the mailbox in front of the Downey Post Office. Only because an astute bank teller at the Pico Rivera branch of our bank became suspicious were we saved from having $800 stolen from our group's bank account.
With what could only be sophisticated equipment, the thief "erased" the name we had written on the "Pay to the order of" line and written in a woman's name. Then they "erased" the dollar amount we had originally written and changed that to $800. When the bank teller balked at cashing the check that this woman had endorsed, the thief ran from the bank.
Several weeks ago, the mailboxes in front of the Post Office were rendered out of commission due to tampering, vandalism, and theft. They were crisscrossed with yellow tape to prevent the public from using them. Then, about two weeks ago, they were replaced with a more tamper-proof model. This tamper-proof mailbox is the same box that we dropped our check into. Apparently this (federal) crime is quite common and has been going on for years, not just in Downey but in many cities.
My advice to anyone who must mail anything is, DO NOT use an outside mailbox. Go INSIDE to drop off your mail-preferably during office hours.
Coincidentally, the Netflix movie that our member dropped in the mailbox at the same time she dropped in the check, never arrived at Netflix headquarters. I have to wonder what other mail in that box never reached its intended destination. Paula Mayfield Downey
********** Published: Febuary 7, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 43