Town Crier: With tax season, mail theft is on the rise

MONTCLARION: February 24, 2017

In the dimly lit Oakland hills, with darkness as cover and crime as intent, a sedan slowly makes its rounds. Methodically, the car stops at each mailbox and what appears to be a woman emerges to jimmy each metal door.

The grainy security camera footage shows something else. At least one, maybe two other people are in the car and if mailboxes aren’t easily opened — the driver moves on.

Sadly, this is a growing problem. In fact, postal inspectors say there’s been a spike, statewide, in mail theft as we enter tax season.

And yes, mail theft is a federal offense that could get the perps five years in prison (and up to $250,000 in fines). But police need our help to catch them. If you see any evidence that mail is missing or your box has been tampered with, report the crime to both the U.S. Postal Service (877-876-2455) as well as police. In Oakland, you can fill out an online report at

Missing box: So, the timing couldn’t be worse for this: The postal box at Skyline and Colton has suddenly disappeared. This was a popular mail drop for folks who didn’t want to drive all the way to Montclair Village — but now there are sandbags where big blue once stood. Assuming it was the USPS that removed the box, here is the email for comments and complaints: And the phone number is 703-248-2100.

Around town: It was 2004 when Jennifer Sandstrom opened Someone’s in the Kitchen at 6128 La Salle, in Montclair. Thirteen years is a good, long run for a business and Jennifer should be proud that she’s become such a part of the village charm. So — I’d like to give Someone’s in the Kitchen an unsolicited ‘plug’ for its 30 percent storewide sale through February. If you’ve got weddings and other gift-giving occasions coming up — or you’d just like to update your own kitchen — this is your chance. Plus, you’ll be supporting a merchant who adds character to our shopping district.

Bottoms up: Oakland now has an Ale Trail. This is great news for craft beer lovers who probably know about places like Drake’s Dealership but may not have heard of the other nine tasting rooms. You can now tip a glass at Ale Industries, Diving Dog Brewhouse, Federation Brewing, Independent Brewing Company, Novel Brewing Company, Pacific Coast Brewing Company, Temescal Brewing and Woods Beer Company. Collect a stamp from each tasting room and get a free Oakland Ale Trail growler at the Oakland Visitor Center in Jack London Square. For more information, go to

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at http://www.


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