One of my neighbors might be stealing my mail. My building has small mailboxes that lock, so oversized items are left on a table in the front hall. Every so often I find myself missing a large envelope or magazine that I know was delivered. Some other residents are having the same problem and we all suspect the same person. She's a little older, a little daffy and is the only person in our building of eight apartments who is home during the day. We don't have any proof, but even the mailman thinks it might be her. What can we do?

Peter, Cobble Hill

Without proof that she is actually stealing the mail, there is not much you can do to actively end the theft. Although we've all heard that stealing mail is a federal crime, I doubt that anyone in your building wants to see an old woman picked up by John Aschroft.

2004_04_askmailboxes.jpg

First, place a note near the mailboxes informing everyone in the building that some mail has been missing and to double check their piles before taking them back to the apartment. If that doesn't stop it, talk to your landlord or building manager. Perhaps this has been a problem for former tenants as well. If your landlord is a reasonable person - and I know that's asking for a lot in some buildings - he'll be able to talk to your neighbor to see what's going on.

If none of that works and the theft continues, talk to your mailman or even your local post office. The USPS takes this stuff very seriously and recently worked with the DOJ to bust one of their own for mail theft in February.

With no doorman to accept large items, Gothamist has important packages and letters mailed to work where the only things people steal are office supplies.