“The reporting system allows for an individual to label their complaint as mail theft, however, the system is not designed to automatically discern which of these are legitimate complaints of theft of U.S. mail.”

“To me, it’s rather startling,” said Janet Lauritsen, a criminologist who has done extensive research on national law enforcement statistics. “They are supposed to investigate these issues, so how can it be possible that they do not have the data necessary to do those investigations? I can’t make sense of it.”

“It’s not even a question. Mail theft has gone through the roof,” said one Postal Police officer who works on the East Coast and requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. “And that’s only what’s reported. If they steal mail that you don’t know was coming, you don’t report it.”

“They said they would open an investigation and get back to me,” said Corey Eisenberg, who filed a complaint after mailing two separate checks last year that were intercepted and cashed. “But they never did and I stopped following up.”

“They aren’t mastermind identity theft scammers,” Davis said. “They are usually drug-addicted people who try to find things in the mail like gift cards and cash, so they can get their next hit.”

“When a thief gets these arrow keys, it’s huge,” said the Postal Police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They are basically skeleton keys and they open every collection box, every relay box and every cluster box in a given zip code.”

A Postal Service Office of Inspector General report released in late August found that USPS’ management controls over arrow keys were “ineffective.”

“We have incredibly easy access to I-5 and the Pacific Highway,” Huster said. “You can hit a place and literally vanish.”

“Every day it happens,” he added. “The amount is ridiculous.”

“We leave a notice informing them to pick it up at the post office,” Huster said. “This complex has really been a thorn in my side.”

“These are often low-income people, someone’s grandma and grandpa,” he said. “They are the core people we serve, and I’m just left speechless. I feel awful for them.”