By Henry (Hank) Scott – August 12, 2015
WEHOville has asked the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office to explain how these thefts can happen and what the Postal Service intends to do to prevent them in the future. The answer from Stacia Crane of the Postal Inspection Service: “The investigation is progressing, but we can’t release any details at this time.”
So we’ve done our own research, which makes clear that the problem is poor management of the local post offices, which has been documented in other situations. Owners of multi-family buildings are required to install group mailboxes that can be accessed with a master key that also can be used to gain access to a bank of individual mailboxes in a building’s lobby or mailroom. Such master keys are supposed to be kept in a lock box at the local post office. A postal carrier signs in for his key when he begins his delivery round and is supposed to keep the key attached to his body on a chain. When the postal worker returns from his route, he is supposed to return the master key to a lock box at the Post Office. Apparently that isn’t happening. Whether an individual master key gives access to all multi-unit mailboxes in a particular ZIP Zone or only to those on a particular carrier’s route is unclear from the information we have found. That’s another question the Postal Service has declined to answer.