WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Unusual dumped-and-likely-stolen item; mysterious mail thefts

Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:

UNUSUAL DUMPED/LIKELY STOLEN ITEM: HA emailed to say they “found an industrial heater/fan just off Delridge, south of SW Hudson. Based on the model number, it retails for about a thousand dollars. Rather than leave it where abandoned, I brought it home.” If you’ve had that type of item stolen (or otherwise lost), email us at westseattleblog@gmail.com and we’ll connect you with the finder.

MAIL THEFT TARGETING CREDIT CARDS: From MR:

I wanted to report repeated mail theft that strikes me as a bit odd and thought that perhaps others are experiencing the same. (I have filed police reports for both of the following incidents.)

My Capital One credit card was expiring, so they mailed me a new card. It never got to me, but I received notification from Capital One that someone was attempting to use it at a Shell gas station and also on the Square payment app in late January. I cancelled the card and Capital One sent me a replacement card.

I had not received the card, but this morning I was notified that someone was attempting to use the replacement card to make a very large purchase at a grocery store in White Center.

The thieves apparently were not able to activate the card in any of the cases and I was able to reject the charges and cancel the cards without them being able to use the cards.

What is odd is that I have a keyed mailbox which doesn’t show any indication that it’s been forced open or tampered with. Also, I signed up for the USPS Informed Delivery service after the original theft, and the Capital One envelope showed up on the scan on 2/1, but it was apparently stolen before it made it to my mailbox.

30 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Unusual dumped-and-likely-stolen item; mysterious mail thefts"

  • CJ February 3, 2022 (1:41 pm)

    Could be a bad apple inside the Post Office.  File a report here:  https://www.uspis.gov/report

    • Mike February 4, 2022 (8:03 am)

      Agreed 

  • WSlite February 3, 2022 (1:48 pm)

    MR, have you called your US Post Office and told them of situation about mail thefts? Sounds like something needs to be fixed with standards and procedures at their office or it’s an inside job? I wouldn’t wait on calling them, especially with tax information and W-2s being mailed out right now with all personal information.

  • CarDriver February 3, 2022 (2:11 pm)

    MR. Several years ago a co-worker had her id stolen. Police (Tacoma PD) were finally able to track down and arrest the perps. It was her mailman who’d taken her mail before it went in her mailbox. Also, his girlfriend was arrested as an accomplice. She worked at the bank. Moral of the story is that crooks come in all shapes and sizes and occupations.

    • Derek February 4, 2022 (10:07 am)

      If you read this comment section you’d think only the homeless were crooks. That’s how it seems. 

  • Steve February 3, 2022 (2:12 pm)

    How frustrating!

    In December (just days after starting Informed Delivery), a Christmas card coming our way never made it to our mailbox. We could tell from our camera and mailbox sensor that it was never delivered… I’m curious where exactly in the USPS process it went missing.

  • Sillygoose February 3, 2022 (2:49 pm)

    If you arent receiving any mail at all someone has put in a change of address for your address.  I had this happen to me, it was a nightmare.  Postal inspectors wanted to help but were buried in high-profile gang shipments.  I put tracking on every letter, card, etc now.  The tracking forms are free at the post office.  So far has acted as a deterrent.  A few items haven’t been scanned at delivery by those mail carriers but most scan the label.

  • NotOnHolden February 3, 2022 (3:04 pm)

    Regarding the CapOne card; I had the same thing happen with two cards that moved servicing to Capital One.  The change happened at the same time; one card arrived and the other did not.  I have gotten notification of multiple unsuccessful attempts to use the card starting in WA and then further and further away.  I just went online and locked the card since I did not have time to sit on the phone.  I have a secure mail box in a secure building.

  • Mellow Kitty February 3, 2022 (3:36 pm)

    I absolutely agree with other commenters; go to the post office and talk to someone directly. An official investigation should start once USPS is notified. If they don’t know about it, they can’t do anything about it. I hope you get this sorted out soon! 

  • Kat February 3, 2022 (3:41 pm)

    This happened to me many years ago.  It was an employee at the post office.  He ended up going to prison.  File a complaint with the post office.

  • Muraco February 3, 2022 (5:18 pm)

    Last year twice the post office claimed to have delivered a package to me which I did not received (I’m in an apartment with locked lobby and locked mailboxes) – I also called the postal station and spoke to a supervisor asking him to verify the GPS. It was claimed that it was delivered to my address. I happen to live on the same floor as the lobby/ locked mailboxes and I’ve cammed my door. Looked at the video – no mailman came by with a package. I placed another call to the postal station supervisor and noted this. The supervisor suggested I filed a complaint with the Federal govt (which I also did). BUT the next day at 6:30am I happen to walk out my unit as a postal person I’ve never seen before open the door to the lobby and put a box in my locked mailbox. I watched him, and then said, “where was the box?” He smiled and said “happy to have your package back?” walked out the door. I concluded my inquiries that I had prevented some postal person from stealing my package. I think someone at the post office is stealing your cards. I’ve NEVER received any response from my filing a case with the federal govt.

  • Jethro Marx February 3, 2022 (6:23 pm)

    What did the industrial heater look like? 

    • WSB February 3, 2022 (9:13 pm)

      The finder would like the prospective claimer to describe it, so that’s why no description is included. Ostensibly someone who had one stolen – or lost – would be able to say it’s a model XX, etc.

    • DelridgeNeighbor February 4, 2022 (9:43 am)

      Jethro, my husband and I saw it, too. It was orange and had wheels.  While it did have some stuff that looked like paint or sheetrock mud, it did not look that old.

  • Osprey too February 3, 2022 (7:23 pm)

    My tenant’s bank would send me a cashier check the first of every month. I had signed up for Informed Delivery so when the photo showed up but the check did not, I reported it missing to USPS online. (I have never received any response to missing mail btw.) A few days later I had my tenant stop payment and issue another check.  The next time this happened, I went in to the post office and complained. The check was delivered to me two days later and it didn’t happen again. Squeaky wheel and all that.

  • Karen February 3, 2022 (7:45 pm)

    I was able to have my replacement debit card delivered to my bank branch and picked it up there with my photo ID.   It felt secure.

  • brizone February 3, 2022 (8:11 pm)

    WHAT ZIP CODE are you in MR??  Some of the Post Office locations areound here are worse than others, it turns out…

    • MR February 3, 2022 (10:47 pm)

      98116

  • Tim P February 3, 2022 (8:55 pm)

    I had no faith in the post office in WS. Too many mis-deliveries. I am amazed I get anything  forwarded out out there.  Get a PO BOX somewhere else.  

  • MR February 3, 2022 (10:43 pm)

    Thanks to all of you for all the information.  I attempted
    to file a a report with the US Postal Inspection Service after the first stolen
    credit card, but you can’t file online unless you have a tracking number, and
    all my stolen items are regular mail.  (I did just figure out how to get
    around the tracking number requirement and filed a report.) 
    I filed
    police reports and put a fraud alert on my credit reports.  I closed my
    Capital One account since there is apparently no way to get a new credit card
    without it getting stolen…  They did not have any other options since they aren’t an actual bank with locations.
    Police reports seem to be useless other than
    documenting the theft.  I know exactly where the credit card was tried
    this morning and the exact time, but if you have actual information pertaining
    to the theft like who committed it or where it happened, you can’t file an
    online form, and you are directed to the non-emergency number, and the
    recording tells you that (paraphrasing) there’s nothing they can do and don’t
    call 911 unless it’s an emergency. 
    Since the transaction was attempted at
    a grocery store, the whole thing is probably on video, but the store doesn’t
    answer their phone, so I’ll go tomorrow to see what their rules are for getting
    video.  I work for a large cybersecurity company so hopefully I can get
    some help there.   
    I plan to be at the post office tomorrow morning when it opens as they scanned in new mail today that has tax documents  and I want to try to intercept it before it goes out for delivery, i.e. gets stolen.  It appears they’ve already gotten my W2.Thanks again to Tracy for posting this for me and
    all the commenters sharing their stories and advice.

  • Nicole February 3, 2022 (10:45 pm)

    That’s odd, a few months ago I signed up for a new Capital One card and it never showed up. I contacted Capital One and they said it was sent to the correct address, but would mail me another one and make sure the original card never gets activated. Thankfully I got the second card, but strange this happened to someone else as well. I have a locked mailbox too. I’m in zip 98116

  • MR February 3, 2022 (10:46 pm)

    ^^ My formatting did not take.  Sorry for the wall of text.

  • CarDriver February 4, 2022 (7:00 am)

    WSB/MR. Keep us updated! Seems like a good follow up story as is has, or will at some point(sadly) affect a lot of us 

  • Yep February 4, 2022 (7:28 am)

    Remember when Netflix was dvds in the mail? 

  • helpermonkey February 4, 2022 (8:07 am)

    I have yet to receive my W2, and I know a couple other people haven’t either. Because I live in Arbor Heights I just assume it’s been stolen. Sigh. 

    • anonyme February 5, 2022 (7:04 am)

      Arbor Heights has rampant mail theft.  I’ve seen thieves at work on multiple occasions, but the police never arrive in time.  The thieves work in organized crews.  They drop people off at different locations, then pick them up before police can arrive.  They change clothes in between drop-offs to confuse descriptions.  I see piles of rejected mail tossed on the street on a regular basis.  But I also believe that there is a lot of theft going on inside the post office.  I get very little mail, but both a Capital One debit card and replacement SS card went missing in the past year.  I check my locking mailbox often, and neither item ever appeared on Informed Delivery.

  • Joan February 4, 2022 (8:47 am)

    I won’t bash the entire USPS, but I am convinced that theft happens within its ranks. I never received a package and when I checked the tracking online, it said it was undeliverable and taken to the postal recovery facility in Federal Way. I had never heard of that place! Well, it was tracked there and I assume was there for a time. I filed a missing mail form to get it delivered, giving my name and address. Funny, since USPS told me the location it was, it was apparently never “re found.” Hmmm, I think the recovery facility is a place where mail goes to die, and then the employees rifle through everything. They still tell me they haven’t found  it yet. End of story. I got a refund from the sender.

  • Mel February 4, 2022 (10:12 pm)

     If you have actual information pertaining to the theft like who committed it or where it happened, you can’t file an online form, and you are directed to the non-emergency number, and the recording tells you that (paraphrasing) there’s nothing they can do and don’t call 911 unless it’s an emergency.

    The non-emergency number says police can’t do anything about theft when you have a place to see evidence on hand? Can you explain the message a bit more?

  • jscyclist February 5, 2022 (12:57 pm)

    MR, a few years ago I also had a new credit card stolen before it reached our locked mailbox, and the thief also made some small purchases at a local convenience store. I did try to alert the local USPS station but my complaint was dismissed and unheard by any management type, plus some phone tag that never resulted in a conversation. When making the police report the officer basically said ” these things happen”. It seemed obvious to me that it was an inside PO employee

  • David February 6, 2022 (8:46 pm)

    Two prescriptions were supposedly delivered last year, and I went out to the (very-securely-locked) mailbox within an hour of getting the “delivered” tracking notification both times. Nothing. After the second one I filed a formal complaint, but never heard back from USPS. Since then I route anything important to my workplace, since I’m the one who handles incoming mail. ;-)

Sorry, comment time is over.