Since the U.S. Postal Service is a federal entity, the government classifies mail theft as a federal crime. Taking an envelope from another person’s mailbox may seem harmless, but this type of theft comes with serious punishments. It is illegal to take mail from a collection box, a postal truck, an apartment mailbox panel, a neighborhood delivery or collection box, or a mailing rack.
People and companies frequently send valuable goods, cash, and confidential identifying information through the mail. If perpetrators of mail theft did not face harsh repercussions, this type of offense would likely occur more often. Subsequently, people would be afraid to send goods through the mail, and the postal system would not function properly. However, despite its high-crime status, mail theft and subsequent identity theft are the most widely reported white-collar crimes in the U.S.
Prohibited Mail Activities
Mail theft is only one of many crimes that are encountered by the U.S. Postal Service. Other illegal mail activities include:
- Identity theft
- Mail fraud (Deceptive advertising and scams through the mail)
- Vandalism to a mail receptacle
- Tampering/Destruction of mail
- False change of address
- Unsolicited sexually-oriented advertising (Unsolicited sexually-oriented advertising is legal. However, a person may file a request with the postal service to not receive this type of advertising through the mail. A violation of this request is a crime.)
If you have been charged with mail theft or another mail crime, contact the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. at 414-271-9595.