West Seattle Crime Watch: Brazen theft of big blue mailbox

October 11, 2011 at 10:25 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 36 Comments

Thanks to our friends at KING 5 for the tip on this one: The United States Postal Service says this doesn’t happen very often, but it happened at the corner of Admiral and Belvidere night before last – someone made off with the big blue USPS mailbox, leaving little behind but these stubs jutting out of the sidewalk:

This, despite special measures taken more than a decade ago to make the boxes and their installations more theft-resistant, according to USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson, who confirmed the Postal Inspection Service is investigating this as a theft. Swanson tells WSB the mailbox will be replaced. If you think you might have had mail in the box when it was taken, call 877-876-2455.

36 Comments

  1. Is it for the scrap metal value, or are the letters inside that valuable? I guess you could get account numbers on checks when people pay bills, but I guess I just don’t know what that really gets anyone nowadays.

    Comment by sven — 11:02 am October 11, 2011 #

  2. Amazing if not one person noticed this happening.

    Comment by Robert2715 — 11:13 am October 11, 2011 #

  3. Reminded me a bit of the Totem Pole Caper of 2009 …

    Comment by WSB — 11:27 am October 11, 2011 #

  4. heh. came here to say they should see where the totem pole guy was at the time this disappeared :-)

    Comment by rob — 11:45 am October 11, 2011 #

  5. Yes it has to be the scrap metal. But how much money could they really get for this, a few dollars? Wouldn’t it be easier to just get a job?

    Comment by MoreOrLess — 11:51 am October 11, 2011 #

  6. Going by the photo, it doesn’t look like the “special measures” took into account that the box could be removed with a $5 wrench from Home Depot.

    Comment by Wendell — 11:57 am October 11, 2011 #

  7. a couple of years ago, someone stole the blue box on the corner of california and hanford.

    Comment by bluegirl — 12:11 pm October 11, 2011 #

  8. Slightly less ambitious than the totem pole guy (whom I still believe deserves a public outing/ perp-walk). But at least I could understand the motivation there (vanity/entitlement). There are easier ways to steal mail if that’s what they were after. *Unless* it was a case of someone wanting deperately to retrieve something they had mailed! Like trying to find the “unsend” button on that hastily sent, ill-considered email! (Omigawd, if grandma actually gets that note in which I said she was a hideous shrew and she can keep her filthy money she might actually cut me out of the will!)

    Comment by 35this35mph — 12:29 pm October 11, 2011 #

  9. The one on California & Hanford wasn’t stolen, it was hit and knocked over by a drunk driver.

    Comment by Ruby — 12:46 pm October 11, 2011 #

  10. Can the person who did this be charged with a Federal charge since it is USPS? The person/people who did this are lame. Next they will be taking a merry-go-round from some playground :(

    Comment by Lil' Wash — 12:50 pm October 11, 2011 #

  11. Well, at least it wasn’t on fire.

    Comment by Irukandji — 1:22 pm October 11, 2011 #

  12. I’m guessing this was not stolen for scrap metal. Those things are made of steel. Steel/Iron have the lowest pay-out per pound(8-10 cents per pound). The metals you usually see stolen by scrappers are copper, brass or insulated copper wire. I couldn’t see a scrapper taking a risk like that for $10 dollars worth of steel. And the recycling yards would be out of their minds to accept a giant postal service box. Just my 2 cents….

    David – Green Guys Recycling

    Comment by GreenGuy — 1:25 pm October 11, 2011 #

  13. That is a pretty convenient box for putting Netflix DVDs in on the way to the Bridge.

    Comment by Robert2715 — 1:40 pm October 11, 2011 #

  14. Stealing isn’t funny, but this is funny. One time a long time ago, a person dumped manure into a mailbox half full of letters and stuff.

    Comment by Jiggers — 1:42 pm October 11, 2011 #

  15. Lil’ Wash — yes, it is a federal crime to steal either a mailbox or mail, even when the mail has already been delivered. If you live in a multi-family bldg and someone steals mail from the lobby, it’s a federal crime.
    https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/aboutus/laws.aspx
    There was an article in the paper a few days ago about thieves stealing a metal bridge by cutting it up for scrap; estimated value was $100k …

    Comment by metrognome — 2:03 pm October 11, 2011 #

  16. that is a known meth area so someone might recycle the metal

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 2:23 pm October 11, 2011 #

  17. Well I am sure there are some checks in there for them to wash and forge. I guess the old saying of ‘stealing anything that is not nailed down’ is obsolete now. Hard times!

    Comment by goodgolly — 3:02 pm October 11, 2011 #

  18. Jiggers,Im not really sure how this is possibly funny.Although your past posts have proven a lot of cobwebs in the attic, but this may just end up becoming a living nightmare for somebody who ends up getting their identity stolen or their money taken from their bank.Maybe one day if it happens to you,you won’t be so amused by it.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 3:58 pm October 11, 2011 #

  19. Could it be that someone wanted a trophy or keep sake?

    Comment by Robert — 7:21 pm October 11, 2011 #

  20. Seriously, w.s. maverick – what are you basing your statement this is a “known” meth area on ?

    Comment by SrslySharon — 7:32 pm October 11, 2011 #

  21. @wsmaverick-Gee, this corner being “a known meth area” is either a snark or you don’t know what the hell your talking about.

    Comment by Neighbor — 7:43 pm October 11, 2011 #

  22. What the what?!!! I use this mailbox all the time on my way home from work! Last night I drove by to drop off some mail and it was gone/removed. I assumed USPS removed it (darn it!!!) like they did the mailbox on the corner of 35th & Charlestown. Then I was watching the news last night and they reported it as stolen. Seriously?!!! What is wrong with people?!!! It’s sooooo irritating – nothing is safe anymore! Karma – what goes around, comes around and I hope you get yours!!!

    Comment by sun*e — 12:13 am October 12, 2011 #

  23. i walk that way home at nights and i see plenty of kids coming out of houses and i hear things in the underground of ws seattle. i know the cops have checked some of those house’s in and around the blocks too. I think there might have even been an arrest in that area about a year or so ago for that garbage

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 6:31 am October 12, 2011 #

  24. @wsmaverick-I still say you have NO idea what your talking about. Give me police report #.The cops have not checked for a meth house anywhere in the area. Robberies happen, kids drinking yes but uh, no meth. I live here, I’m an active, nosy neighbor. Infact ,we’re all involved with our community up here. Our little neck of the woods is quite organized, and very aware of our surroundings. Your talking out of your ass.

    Comment by Neighbor — 8:33 am October 12, 2011 #

  25. I really does not matter when a crime/vandalism is one of opportunity or a personal vendetta….the mere act is a violation. And when you or someone you know is targeted, it becomes all the more (un)real!

    Comment by Friend — 10:17 am October 12, 2011 #

  26. All the meth heads hang out in the Belvidere neighborhood for the view of the city and it’s easy walk to metro market.

    Are your underground secret sources the same silly voices you hear in your head?

    I have lived near meth houses and know what meth heads look like and I assure you, there are none in my neighborhood. Unless they are meth ninjas…

    Comment by Dana — 10:37 am October 12, 2011 #

  27. If you had any checks in that mailbox,
    or anything else with your name and account numbers, cancel those accounts right away.

    Comment by joe — 12:37 pm October 12, 2011 #

  28. I live a few blocks from that mailbox and drive down Belvidere at least 2-3 times a day. Can’t say I have seen any meth heads on my block. But like Dana said, I havent been checking the trees or dark corners for meth ninjas. Maybe I should start.

    Comment by BLVDR NAYBUR — 4:33 pm October 12, 2011 #

  29. neighbor I’m just saying,keep your eyes open late night and get these punks off the street

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 4:35 pm October 12, 2011 #

  30. thank you WSB for deleting my comment. Evidently WS Maverick can accuse a whole neighborhood of being heavily involved in meth. A neighborhood that mind you that houses a lot of your readers. But I cannot ask a question to WS Maverick regarding his/her accusations. But maybe WS Maverick is a friend of yours and I am not.

    Comment by bg — 4:46 pm October 12, 2011 #

  31. I live very close to that mailbox… and can tell you, like Neighbor, I am pretty nosey. There are no meth houses nearby. If the meth-heads are spending time looking at the scenery, that is also a big surprise. The police sit in a spot nearby and nail speeders up and down Admiral. Oh, and that’s a good 6 or 7 block walk to Metro. That’s too far for meth-heads to walk.

    Comment by NotMe — 4:58 pm October 12, 2011 #

  32. BG, I haven’t deleted anything in this thread. Just got home from a meeting and had about 20 comments in queue for approval (not just on this story) so if whatever you are referring to now is NOT showing, let me know. The spam filter, separate from the moderation queue, also holds comments for reasons not always obvious, and I’m going in there next. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:26 pm October 12, 2011 #

  33. We used to have one of these mailboxes on the SE corner of Delridge Way and SW Findlay. It was very convenient and highly accessible. The USPS removed it a few years ago. Never understood why it was removed and the one on Admiral Way remained. Demographics I suppose….-(:

    Comment by Been There — 4:55 am October 13, 2011 #

  34. just keep patrolling your neighborhoods and help keep west seattle safe is all I’m trying to say

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 7:27 am October 13, 2011 #

  35. IN these times as we know, people will do anything when they get hungry enough or need money for drugs.. I hope everyone is extra cautious….lock your doors and take your mail to the post office!

    Comment by bobbi — 10:23 am October 16, 2011 #

  36. Guaranteed this was not stolen for the scrap metal value. It’s the mail that they were after, and yes it was likely meth heads. Just based of years of researching mail-identity theft as my family company sells security locking mailboxes. Checks are easy to wash – it happens ALL THE TIME! In addition, bill payments often have credit card account data, etc. Thieves also target incoming mail which is easy to steal and most people don’t even realize it happened.

    Interested in the meth connection to mail-identity theft? Google “meth mail identity theft” and read the msNBC expose on it from a few years back. I’d include the link but don’t want to get flagged.

    Comment by Jenny at Mail Boss — 5:43 pm October 18, 2011 #

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