Town Square

Post a New Topic

Postal inspector investigates theft of birthday money

Original post made on Jul 22, 2016

The U.S. Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General is investigating a series of thefts of money from mailed birthday cards that some victims believe may be an inside job.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 22, 2016, 12:00 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by Concerned Coach
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:36 am

Concerned Coach is a registered user.

There had been some horror stories from the past concerning Palo Alto's branch and the entire USPS in general.

Posted by Kimber
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:46 am

My mom sent my husband a card with money in it in April (from SC), and when we received it the money was stolen. There was definitely a rip in the envelope. Disappointing for sure, but we also learned a hard lesson of never sending cash. Glad they are investigating it and I hope they find the person(s).

Posted by 2014 victim
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

In 2014, we sent our passports for renewal, certified, signature required. Mine got to destination just fine and processed immediate. My husband's in same style envelope mailed the same day in same manner.
We believe my husband's was definitely was stolen between CA Avenue P.O. and Sacramento Distribution Center. Feel sure it was stolen due to man's name. After many, many visits to Palo Alto post offices with no results, made contact with Federal P.O. agency. Never heard outcome of their investigation. A month later, it arrived at passport office and was issued. Feel that when thieves determined it was for a 80 year old man, they couldn't sell it, so put back in mail for delivery. If sending anything of value I take to Menlo Park of Los Altos Post Office.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:25 pm

We have had more mail "lost" in transit than should ever be normal.

Posted by Former USPS fan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:29 pm

@2014 victim,
We had a social security letter posted with tracking, go missing. Another article sent at the same time also. The items were clearly in the system but when I tried to use the tracking system because of non arrival, one showed as having an invalid tracking number and the other was not recognized at all. These are the tracking numbers printed on the receipts. The post office people punted us from one office to another and kept closing the investigation without doing anything. This is much more serious than money lost from cards, the postal employees handle much more sensitive things than that. The post office including the office of inspector general seemed utterly uninterested in following up. (I tried at every level including managemwnt at the post office where it was mailed.) This was deeply disturbing and totally undermined trust in the local post office.

Posted by Cash stolen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Glad that they are looking into this matter. Now I can understand the power of uniting together, and voicing our complaints!

I want to add that never send gift cards through mail too. My friend never received a gift card sent to her by her mom.

Now I want to see what USPS investigation will reveal.

Good work neighbors!

Posted by @Former USPS fan
a resident of University South
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Same here! The tracking system is worthless.

I sent my brother two Stanford polos in the mail, with tracking, and they never made it to Atlanta. Despite the tracking number saying his package wound up in the mid-west somewhere (I forget exactly where) it was never found. USPS closed the case without any explanation whatsoever. Whenever I try to reopen the case, it just gets closed without any communication.

Posted by Chrisc
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Gift cards are also up for grabs...literally. I sent my grandson an Amazon gift card in June. He never got it, but the gift card was redeemed. I thought the theft was on the other end, Arizona, but maybe not. I don't think postal workers are screened like they used to be, in the good old days before privatization. It used to be pretty difficult to get in. The federal government test was Really hard too. My guess is that it's someone sorting the mail to the carrier so they can bury the cut envelope so carrier doesn't notice. I can't believe it's a carrier, because that would be too easy to track.

Posted by Tina
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2016 at 7:37 am

I mailed a Halloween card to my granddaughter who lives in Sunnyvale, last October with a $20 in it. My daughter called and said she didn't want to be rude but had there been money in the card because the envelope was open when she received it. I notified the Postmaster, but never heard another word about it. It seems the post office has a very large problem on their hands. I can't even imagine how the thieves figure out which envelopes to check.

Posted by Spinks
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

""Given the size of the workforce -- more than 488,000 employees -- the integrity of postal employees is remarkable when you consider only 541 convictions occurred last year."

LOL - you don't get many convictions when you don't investigate or prosecute. Not really a number to brag about.

Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm

I am not surprised.

Postal people have not changed much since 1973.

On 19 August 1973 my brother and I came on a Lufthansa plane from New Delhi to pursue graduate studies and new life.

We both stuffed some India rupees in an envelop about $200. The stamped envelop was mailed and was never made it to our house in Hyderabad India.

No Cash please.


Posted by Question
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2016 at 1:41 pm

I was under the impression that it is illegal to send cash by mail in the US in the first place. (Not that this would justify stealing it). Am I wrong?

Posted by Cynthia Bugg
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:14 pm

I sent a card to my great niece with $60 in it. Her Dad is military and they moved to CA in January. I went in the post office in Metro Center Nashville TN and handed it to the clerk. It was mailed to San Pedro CA. My niece's mailbox has a lock on it but when she got the card you could tell it had been tampered with and the money was missing! Lesson learned but I know it had to be stolen by a postal employee.

Posted by Jo
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2017 at 6:28 am

I sent a Starbucks gift card to a San Francisco area address for Christmas and it was missing out of the Christmas card when our family member rec'd it. The only way he knew it should have contained a gift card was that I mentioned it in the letter I put in the Christmas card. I was required to put two stamps on the envelope, which basically flags which envelopes have more than a card inside. The incident is under investigation by the Inspection General's office. For those of you with tracking numbers whose cases were closed -- everyone has a boss. The Inspector General reports to the Attorney General and Congress. You would file a complaint with them if the IG's office is closing your case w/o resolution concerning tracking numbers.

Posted by John Texan
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm

This is happening in texas, too. I sometimes just go with fedex, costs my $20, but at least I'm not getting stolen from. Post Office is hiring too many thieves.

Posted by Chemistry Student
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Sting them. Mail a bunch of cards with a chemical marker on fake bills. Silver nitrate works dandy. Stains their fingers black for a week. Nothing can remove it.

Posted by "Lost" in the mail.
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Cash and gift cards were stolen from my mail for several times. Until I asked all my family, relatives not to include any valuables in their letters.
Recently, I ordered some items form Amazon. It was mailed to me thru post office.
The tracking stopped at a local post office. Never receive the package.

Posted by Crime ring?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2017 at 6:12 am

Received through usps what were clearly birthday cards. Half were torn open at top, enough for someone to slide a finger into the envelope. Other times, letter has been delivered almost ripped entirely open. SOMEONE at usps is being paid to monitor Palo Alto mail integrity, but isn't doing their job. Maybe it's an inside job and the "monitor" is in the fraud ring. Palo Alto will become a magnet for USPS bad employee criminals as they continue to operate without consequences. Years ago, usps had regular sting operations, monitors, cameras, surveillance windows, and strict protocols. USPS used to be very proactive about preventing employee mail theft by actively monitoring employees. Something is wrong at the Palo Alto Bayshore station, which sorts my mail. Too many cards or letters appearing to have financial items are ripped partially open. It's so worrisome. I tried calling the usps and tried an online complaint. There system is so user unfriendly and impossible to navigate and never receive a response. That lack of an effective system to report complaints and have them followed up on makes the Palo Alto Bayshore station and the usps a great environment for thieves to operate without any fear of detection or prosecution. Tampering with the U.S. mail is a felony. The usps mail detectives ( yes, they exist, you pay for them) need to be held accountable to do their jobs.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Worried about the cost of climate change? Here is some hope.
By Sherry Listgarten | 23 comments | 3,333 views

Two Hours - 75,000 Meals – Wanna Help?
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,713 views


Sign-up now for 5K Run/Walk, 10k Run, Half Marathon

The 39th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, September 29. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon. Complete your race in person or virtually. Proceeds from the race go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local nonprofits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.