Bad People Come In Stolen Packages

, , , , , | Legal | September 23, 2019

(I am an adult living with my family while attending college. I run a small online business where I often ship and receive small packages containing moderate- to high-value items. Sometimes I repair antiques, and other times I get good deals on collector’s items and then sell them for a profit, stuff like that. This means that my household often receives and ships a higher-than-average amount of mail and packages. Due to the economy, our neighbors often come and go quickly. I know none of them as a result. One day, I go pick up my mail from the lockbox at the end of the street and walk home. On my walk, I hear someone shout but keep going, thinking they are talking to their kids or something. It’s coming from a house where I have just seen a moving truck, so I know they’re new to the area. An hour later, there’s a knock at the door. When I open it, it’s an older woman in a dirty mumu who hasn’t brushed her hair in a week.)

Me: *suspicious* “Can I help you?”

Woman: “Yes, you can give me my mail.”

Me: “I don’t have any mail that isn’t for someone from my household, sorry. Have you tried calling the post office? Sometimes if you call them it forces them to look for it. If that doesn’t work, then you could call–”

Woman: *raising her voice* “I saw you take my packages! Just now! Don’t make me involve your parents! Or the police!”

Me: *picking up the small pile of packages from the table near the door* “These?”

(She reaches out to grab them, but I take a step back.)

Me: “These are all addressed here, to me, or to other people who live in this house. They are just a similar size to whatever you’re expecting. I can’t help you.”

(She starts screaming at me, calling me a thief, and threatening to tell my parents as I set my packages back down. She says some other s*** that I miss because I shut the door in her face. I ignore her as she kicks the door and shrieks like a wounded banshee. After a few minutes, she gives up and storms away. I make sure to tell my family about it and ask them to always take pictures of our mail when they pick it up so we can show it was addressed to us. After a few days, the woman sends me a letter.) 

Woman: “Dear little [insulting name], I saw you on [date] taking my mail. I know it was mine. You stole it and I will be getting in touch with a lawyer unless you send me $500 and confess to the police what you’ve done.”

(The letter is about ten pages of word-salad, threats of legal action, and accusations. I keep the letter aside and do not respond, because I know one shouldn’t engage with crazy people. I figure she’s stressed from moving in and just needs to emotionally level out, so her paranoia will go away and we can forget this issue ever happened. The next time I have an incoming shipment and walk it home, the cops come knocking on my door.)

Officer #1: “We were told that a fifteen-year-old who lives here has been seen picking the mailbox lock and taking packages that aren’t theirs. Did your child suddenly come into any new items?”

Me: “No, officer, there are no children who live here. I am the youngest, but I’m twenty-three. I picked up the mail a little while ago. Here. If you’d like to give these to the right address, be my guest. I also have the mailbox key right here, which I was planning to return in the morning when I send outgoing mail.”

(I hand him the mail, and after briefly checking through it, he hands it all back to me because it all is addressed to my household.)

Me: “It was that woman at [address where I heard yelling before], wasn’t it?”

Officer #1: “I can’t confirm or deny, but can you tell me why you’d suspect that?”

Me: “She’s convinced that I’m a teenager, that I’ve been stealing her mail, and sent me this letter threatening me about it. I didn’t want to involve the police since it’s not that big a problem. I figure once her package arrives, she’ll calm down, anyway.”

(The cop reads the first two pages of the letter, then takes pictures of every page, including the pages where she printed her own address with the presumption I would mail her a check.)

Officer #1: “Would you want me to look into arresting her for this? This is, well, wow. I don’t think you’re safe here so long as she lives nearby.”

Me: “Only if you can’t make it stop tonight. Please tell her to leave me alone, and if she doesn’t, then I will want to discuss the issue further. Oh, and in case she tries to argue that previous shipments here were hers, I’ve saved the boxes of every single package this address has received since the day this issue began. I’ve also got a list of tracking numbers to prove the dates of arrival.”

Officer #1: “Please do me a favor and type up everything that happened, take some pictures of those boxes, and prepare a list of tracking numbers of yours. Meanwhile, if she bothers you in any way again, here’s the case number; please call us.”

Me: “Yes, sir. Thank you.”

(The officer gives me the card and leaves, and then walks to the address I suspected. He speaks to her for a very long time and remains parked near my house for about two hours. By the time he leaves, it is almost midnight. As soon as his car turns around the far side of the street and is out of sight, there’s a knocking on my door. I don’t open it but opt to speak through the closed, locked door.) 

Me: “Didn’t that cop tell you to leave me alone?”

Woman: *shrieking* “HOW DARE YOU LIE TO THE POLICE?! YOU’LL BE SORRY IF YOU DON’T GIVE ME MY PACKAGES! YOU RUINED MY SON’S BIRTHDAY! HE DIDN’T GET HIS TOY! BECAUSE YOU STOLE IT!”

Me: *exasperated* “I don’t have your s***, you nutjob! If the cops get called here, they’ll be taking you to jail, so it’s better for you to just leave me alone!”

(She does leave, but leaves another copy of her manifesto taped to the door. I take a picture of it and write out my statement of what happened, including the list of tracking numbers and pictures of the boxes, before calling the police. A different officer knocks on my door.)

Me: “So, I’m sure your colleague filled you in?”

Officer #2: “Yes.”

Me: “I assume you saw my front door?”

Officer #2: *chuckles* “Yeah. I’ll be taking her away on a 51-50. You’ll probably have to deal with her again in two days, but there will be an emergency restraining order in place. If she violates it — that, plus the paperwork we already have — you won’t hear from her for at least a year.”

Me: “Thank you, sir. Here’s my paperwork.”

(In the mail, I received an un-addressed, un-postmarked letter. It was another copy of the manifesto. My family called the postmaster general and complained about the mail carrier aiding in harassment and violating postal code about unstamped and unpaid mail delivery. I called the police and explained that it had happened again. This time when they arrested her, she didn’t come back! Her family moved out within a couple of months since they couldn’t afford the house without her income. I know this because her husband sent her son to try to guilt-trip me, which I laughed openly at, because screw that entire crazy family! Oh, well. Should have thought of that before harassing your new neighbor!)

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