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Parcel notices are golden tickets for mail thieves

Kamloops resident, Sally Gosse, shows parcel reminder slips as well as copies of notice slips with fraudulent third party authorization.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia
January 22, 2013 - 3:04 PM

A Kamloops resident wants Canada Post to change its policies regarding third party parcel pickups after thieves figured out how to get her expensive parcels from the post office.

"Your mail is not secure," said Sally Gosse, Barnhartvale resident. She said she was surprised when she opened her mailbox in early January to find pickup reminders for two separate parcels from the Valleyview Shopper's Drug Mart Canada Post retail outlet, both dated for Dec. 27.

She had her son Matt visit the location to pick them up. Reminders in hand, the clerk notified him that the parcels had already been picked up.

Gosse, who was not not expecting the parcels to begin with, wondered why she hadn't received initial notices for them and what happened to the parcels. The clerk generated the paperwork, revealing two parcel notices brought in by an alledged third party who signed under the name 'Mark Beszedes.'

The third party pickup appeared to be authorized by Matt for one parcel, and by Gosse's husband John, for the other.

The scenario seemed legitimate on paper, however according to Gosse, Matt and John's signatures were forged and the family never consented to third party pickup by Beszedes, nor did they even know the man who walked away with their parcels.

Gosse said she was alarmed to find out someone was able to steal parcel notices from her community mailbox and successfully pick them up from the post office.

"Mark Beszedes was able to walk in, tick the box, say 'John Gosse wants me to pick up his parcel', and forged his signature," Gosse said. "It was that simple to pick up our parcels."

After several attempts to contact Canada Post regarding their policy, calls were never returned to InfoTel News.

However, its policy as identified by their website, says that third-party authorization may be given to someone residing at the same address as the person or organization to whom the parcel is issued. Exceptions are granted when the delivery notice card is signed by the addressee indicating third party authorization to pick up the parcel, a letter of authorization has been granted by the addressee, or additional legal documentation has been issued. In all cases, the third party must present personal identification.

This means the third party who allegedly stole Gosse's parcel notices may have only needed to sign on behalf of the addressees, sign a name and provide identification to obtain the parcel.

Gosse said RCMP have been able to confirm the man who stole her family's parcels as well as his address and a mug shot taken from Shopper's Drug Mart surveillance footage.

She said she is waiting to hear from RCMP regarding the status of the investigation.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said he could not disclose details during the active investigation but said RCMP are working with Canada Post.

"(The case) is still very much active," Learned said. "It's progressing favourably.... We can't forecast a conclusion date. Each inquiry may lead to other inquiries. You just don't know where the investigation is going to lead."

Bob Mitchell, local Canadian Union of Postal Workers president, said it's common for thieves to target community mailboxes.

"They can hit multiple mailboxes all at once," he said. "(Community mailboxes) have a habit of being tucked away and in sort of unobstructed and out of view places."

Mitchell said a pair was recently caught for a similar scam hitting a regular loop throughout the Okanagan.

"They tend to come up as a pair and they work the area for a while until we either catch them or it gets too hot for them," he said.

Mitchell said postal workers do what they can to prevent theft.

"If there's a suspicious vehicle sitting around, I'll jot down the license plate," he said. "We try to go through as many safe guards as you can... If that person showed up with that card I imagine there would be a presumption that they had access to your house."

Mitchell said whoever sent the mail holds the contract with Canada Post and should deal with them accordingly.

"(For commercial companies) your best bet for compensation would be to go through them, to say, 'I just never received it,'" he said.

Gosse has since discovered that the two parcels amounted to about $600 worth of goods - a $500 drill that John had sent away to be fixed under warrantee and a Christmas gift from one of Matt's friends living in Sweden. She said neither of the parcels were insured.

"(Canada Post is) saying the parcels were delivered, so they wouldn't be covered anyway," Gosse said. "They followed procedure. It's a total loophole."

Gosse said her family is frustrated over the matter.

"Do we have to meet the mail lady?" she said. "They need to change the policy."

— Jessica Wallace

The community mailboxes where Kamloops resident Sally Gosse's mail was allegedly stolen, leading to two parcels fraudulently picked up by an unauthorized third party.
The community mailboxes where Kamloops resident Sally Gosse's mail was allegedly stolen, leading to two parcels fraudulently picked up by an unauthorized third party.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia

Fraudulent third party authorization to pick up two parcels belonging to the Gosse family.
Fraudulent third party authorization to pick up two parcels belonging to the Gosse family.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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