Richie Cyphers said that on a regular basis at his apartment complex, unopened mail could be found just sitting out for the taking.
Cyphers is concerned about the possibility of identity theft, a problem he knows about firsthand.
“This is what it’s all about: not having your identity stolen,” Cyphers said. “Because we’ve had it happen to me and my wife one time. It’s not a good feeling. (It’s a) wide open apartment complex. Anyone can come up this route here, go through there, go through your mail. They got your identity.”
Cyphers was not sure if it was the letter carrier leaving the mail lying around or whether it was other residents who were leaving out mis-delivered mail.
“If I got someone else’s mail I don’t want it, there’s a box there, a huge box for outgoing mail,” Cyphers said. “I don’t want anybody stealing my stuff and no one else’s identity. Why would we have to go through these types of issues just for mail?”
At another apartment complex, the complaint was about the mailboxes.
Someone had broken into some mailboxes and mail was still being delivered to boxes that could not be locked.
Each complainant wanted the problem investigated.
In San Antonio, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is located at the main post office on Perrin Beitel. Ten investigators look into complaints about mail theft and other crime.
Postal inspector Michael Martinez Partida said the responsibility for the broken mailboxes could lie with the apartment complex or the postal service.
“The responsibility obviously would come down to who owns the mailboxes,” Partida said. “It’s their responsibility if they have the lock and the key that they should have them work, because they should be working properly.”
Partida said mail theft comes in waves and is a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.
Partida said it still goes on because thieves get what they’re looking for. “They’re looking for anything that’s going to give them some sort of financial benefit: credit card applications, blank checks, checks that have been written out,” Partida said.
He says the key for customers is to report mail theft as soon as they suspect it so that investigators can get to work.
“We’ll do search warrants, arrest warrants, subpoenas, whatever is necessary to prove the crime,” Partida said. Suspected mail theft can be reported at 877-876-2455.