Passing Laws To Protect Bad Guys

Susan Page
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Wednesday - April 06, 2005
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It’s no wonder I never get anything done. The thefts keep me too busy.

This time it was our mail.

Of course, ours was not as bad as what happened to my friends Ben and Rabina in their Waimalu home last week. They had two burglars (little creeps) stealing a wallet down in their kitchen while they were putting their baby to bed upstairs. Ben caught them in the act and whacked one with a baseball bat, but after a long barefoot chase down the street, they got away. He was furious and frustrated when I told him that in Hawaii he couldn’t shoot people even if they had broken into his home. Originally from Montana, he couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around how someone could violate the sanctity of your home and not expect to get shot.

I’m with you, Ben.

We, however, didn’t even get a look at our thieves. Last week Monday my husband went to the mailbox rather late in the evening only to find the mailbox open and the ads, junk mail and MidWeek (adding insult to injury) all soggy and strewn about on the ground. No first class (letter) mail was there — sending a big red flag since, with a home business office, our normal mail has a minimum of eight to 10 pieces a day.

So forget Tuesday’s plans. Some creep dashed any hope of getting to my To Do list. Now what I had to do was call the police: “Ma’am, we can’t file a report on the assumption that you had mail in your box,” said Officer Ortega, rather curtly. “You’ll have to get a hold of your mail carrier to verify that other mail was delivered.”

A call to our longtime mailman, Alfredo Aromin, was next and he blessedly remembered there was a check in our bundle. He insisted I call the postal inspector’s office, where the representative said (sympathetically) that essentially the ball is in our court to contact anyone who might have been sending us a check, the bank in case a statement was in the mail, all credit card companies, all utilities, phone company and anyone who might have sent us a bill. She also suggested I call the Credit Card Opt Out number, 1-888-567-8688, or go online at www.optoutprescreen.com to stop any credit card offers. If stolen, anyone can activate those cards — which, by the way, come from the big three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).

Alfredo, who has been warning us for years to never leave mail in the mailbox for any length of time, was adamant. “Please tell people about this. Please write about mail theft.” He says thefts from mailboxes are occurring more and more frequently, which the police confirm.

For the time being, we’ve rented a post office box until our new lockable mailbox is installed.

Other things to do to minimize the impact of identity theft include: Requesting a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com, reporting the theft to the three credit bureaus, and calling the Social Security Administration or log on to their web site (www.ssa.gov) under “when someone misuses your Social Security number” for some good information about whom to call and what to do if you’ve been victimized.

But, of course, it all takes time, which is often more precious than what is stolen.

Every person I talk to has had some type of theft crime of their property. They have stories. And, all in all, they’re fed up with the crime in this state and know to thank our state Legislature for laws that protect criminals over law-abiding citizens.

I believe it’s called aiding and abetting.

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