Arlington, VA

A U.S. Postal Inspector was seen inspecting the drop-off mailboxes outside of the N. George Mason Drive Post Office Tuesday, as resident complaints about missing and stolen mail continue.

The mailboxes were reportedly taped off after the inspector’s visit Tuesday morning, which was witnessed by an ARLnow editor. A sign said the mailboxes were “out of order.”

A Nextdoor post about it quickly garnered numerous replies.

“Too many problems with mail being stolen!” said one reply. “This has been going on for years, and I’m glad they’ve finally closed the boxes.”

“NEVER use the George Mason Post Office,” said another. “They’ve been riddled with problems for a long time.”

“As others have said, there has been mail theft there (particularly with the drop box) for nearly a year,” said yet another. “I am happy they finally closed off the box because I still see reports here about mail theft 9 months after our outgoing mail was stolen.”

Other complaints about the post office in the thread — and in dozens of replies to a similar Nextdoor post from July — include missing and undelivered mail.

ARLnow is aware of at least three reports of mail stolen from the boxes outside the post office at 2200 N. George Mason Drive, which serves the 22207 zip code, over the past year or so.

In one case, a tipster said he or she had a thief attempt to cash or deposit more than $35,000 in checks from a business account, though the fraud was caught by the bank before losses were incurred. The incident happened after business mail was dropped off at one of the mailboxes outside.

On Nextdoor, another resident said a thief “took $5,000 out of my IRA account” by altering a $100 check written to a charity, which was deposited “in one of the two drive-by mailboxes outside the post office on George Mason Drive.”

Yet another Nextdoor poster said he also had a check “diverted from this post office… that someone forged and attempted to cash.”

Other residents complained about a lack of information about what’s going on, despite numerous complaints filed with the U.S. Postal Service and Arlington County.

“As far as I know, there has been no communication to the public, which I personally find ethically negligent,” said one resident.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not respond to an inquiry from ARLnow in January. Contacted again this week for more information, a spokesman would only confirm that ARLnow’s photo depicted a postal inspection officer at work.

“I can confirm the individual in the photograph is a US Postal Inspector, working hard to ensure the safety of the US Mail,” Michael Martel, Public Information Officer for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, wrote. “Postal Inspectors have access to USPS infrastructure for a variety of reasons including preventative security measures and during the course of an investigation.”

“If anyone suspects their mail has been stolen, or see suspicious activity near a Post Office or blue collection box, they can report it to Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455,” Martel added.

A flyer with mail security tips, provided by Martel, advises postal customers to “use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier,” and to “pick up your mail promptly after delivery… don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.”

Residents on Nextdoor said even employees of the post office appeared to be in the dark this week.

“When I went in to ask what’s going on, my favorite clerk… was very frustrated and said they were not getting answers themselves,” said one resident.

“Something’s rotten in Denmark at the George Mason Post Office,” said another.

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