Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Mail and Package Thefts Plague Mid-Wilshire/La Brea Area Apartment Buildings

Package thief in lobby of a Cloverdale Ave. apartment building on Tuesday, November 17.

Holiday shipping season is just starting to swing into high gear, but the mail doesn’t always bring the good cheer that it should – especially on S. Cloverdale Ave., south of Third Street, where apartment residents have been suffering a recent rash of mail and package thefts from the lobbies of their buildings.  Suzette Kitselman, who lives in one of the buildings, reports that around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, a woman entered the lobby of her building, apparently with the help of a master key used by postal workers to gain access to a number of buildings in the area, and removed two stacks of packages that had been delivered earlier for tenants in the building.

Kitselman said this is not the first time this has happened at her building or in her neighborhood, and the building owner has been frustrated in her attempts to report the thefts to local authorities.  When trying to contact postal officials after this most recent incident, Kitselman said, the building owner was placed on hold for two hours, and when someone finally answered the call, she was referred to a second number, where the person who answered told her to call the first number again.  Kitselman also said that after a previous rash of thefts a few months ago, and inquiries about changing the locks served by the most-likely-stolen key, they were told that this was not possible because too many buildings are connected to that key.  “It’s ridiculous to me that you can’t just change the locks if this is happening,” Kitselman said.  “The post office just doesn’t seem to care about it.”

Kitselman said that in addition to the packages stolen last week, there is a history of small items being stolen from her building’s mail – such as a fancy wedding invitation and some guitar strings that had been tucked into a birthday card (the card arrived, but not the strings).

Residents are advised to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around mailboxes or packages awaiting pickup (whether at an apartment building or single family home), and if you notice anything out of the ordinary – or recognize the suspect in these photos – please notify police and your local post office.  (Local LAPD senior lead officers did not respond to the Buzz’s inquiries about this incident.)

With peak package season looming, residents who are concerned about the security of their mail could also rent a postal box at a local post office or mailbox store, or – to avoid that cost – perhaps have packages delivered to a work address instead of a home address. When possible, requesting that items require a signature for delivery is also a good idea.

Package thief makes second trip from apartment building lobby.
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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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