Mail thieves may be "fishing" at the Post Office drop-off mailboxes

Posted at 9:02 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 00:19:42-04

A Bakersfield resident said he went to drop off mail Sunday at the Post Office on E. Brundage Lane and Washington St. when he realized his mail wasn't going all the way inside the box. He also said he could feel some tape on the edge of the mouth of the drop-off mailbox.

He pulled up the tape and found a sort of contraption that grabs mail before it goes into the drop box.

He took pictures to show that some mail had actually been caught. 

23ABC reached out to the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office about the incident, U.S. Postal Inspector Brian W. Shaughnessy said via email, "These incidents are especially concerning to us due to the challenges in identifying and notifying potential mail theft victims."

Shaughnessy said the postal service is in the process of upgrading the security features to the collection boxes throughout Bakersfield. 

Shaughnessy said the Post Office will typically post notices on collection boxes and in Post Office retail lobbies when officials suspect that collection box "fishing" has recently occurred.

"While placing outgoing letters into a blue collection box should normally be a secure way to send mail, thieves will sometimes go to great lengths to steal from Postal Service customers.  The safest way to send letter mail is to bring it inside the Post Office or hand it to a letter carrier." Shaughnessy said. 


Anyone who suspects mail they deposited into collection box may have been stolen should report the matter to the Postal Inspection Service by calling (877) 876-2455, or by making a report online at, and clicking on the link to the Postal Inspectors.