Bloomfield, Ind. -- Postal customers in the rural Bloomfield area have recently been having a lot of problems with mailbox vandalism, according to Bloomfield Postmaster Mindy Pemberton.
Here are some facts and reminders about the problems of mailbox vandalism, the penalties for violators and some tips for preventing vandalism, all from the United States Postal Service:
Rural area mailboxes are vulnerable to vandalism because they are usually isolated, located on public thoroughfares, and frequently not visible to the box owners from their homes. City residential mailboxes are vandalized to a lesser degree.
Mailboxes are considered federal property, and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705), makes it a crime to vandalize them (or to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). Violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.
Postal Inspectors recommend these actions to protect your mailbox and any mail that may be inside it:
* Immediately report theft, tampering or destruction of mail or mailboxes to your postmaster. You'll be asked to complete PS Form 1510, Mail Loss and Rifling Report, or PS Form 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint. The forms help the Postal Inspection Service determine whether your problem is isolated, or one frequently experienced in your neighborhood.
* Obtain Label 33 from the Postal Inspection Service and affix it to your mailbox. The sticker warns that willful damage to mailboxes and theft of mail are crimes.
* Keep your mailbox in good repair, and make sure it's properly installed. This may help prevent theft of the mailbox itself.
If you have information on mailbox vandalism, call the Postal Inspection Service to report it. Your cooperation helps apprehend violators. You may provide your information or complaints to your local Postmaster who will pass this information on to your local U.S. Postal Inspector. To submit a complaint directly to the Postal Inspection Service click on http://ehome.uspis.gov/mailtheft/vandali...