Mailbox Pranks And Military Pride

Earlier this week, an “06880” reader signing herself only “Mrs. Veteran” wrote:

This morning we woke up to our mailbox smashed down. It’s an age-old vandalism/prank of high school kids. This time an extremely large pumpkin took it down.

This is a continuing problem. Our neighbors dealt with it for weeks on end a few years ago. They took steps to make sure they weren’t targeted again, by putting metal poles on either side of their mailboxes. In the dark they were not visible, so the kids got a nasty surprise when they tried to take out the mailboxes with baseball bats.

My husband’s mellow attitude is “kids are kids, and this sucks.”

However, I will mention that he is a veteran who served over a decade in the U.S. Army. His Middle East tours lasted up to 14 months at a time.

I think kids in this town need a reality check sometimes, as they drive their BMWs to school or speed down neighborhood streets not considering the lives they could take (children and pets). And I know that not all Westport kids drive BMWs.

The reality check comes when they realize the mailbox they took out belongs to a veteran, a man who served his country to give them the very freedom to throw a pumpkin and damage our property. At this very moment that veteran and his young child are in the garage fixing our mailbox. That’s the same whose entire first year of life he missed — crawling, walking, talking, laughing, smiling, etc. — to fight on foreign soil for their freedom.

I won’t have any way of knowing if these kids read “06880,” but I would appreciate some sort of acknowledgement, even if it’s on behalf of others who had their mailboxes taken down, others who are not comfortable stating their feelings, and others who may just read this and say, “I wonder what my kid was doing last night.”

30 responses to “Mailbox Pranks And Military Pride

  1. Not sure what is sadder, the vandalism or the prejudgment that the perpetrators are Westport teens.

  2. Joyce Barnhart

    Oh, please, Mr. Karrel – are you naive? Unless the mailboxes that were hit are on streets on the borders of town, do you really believe that kids from other towns – or maybe adults from ours – are weilding the baseball bats? Do you think baseball bats are being maligned, too? And, by far, the vandalism is the sadder thing.

  3. Joyce Barnhart

    I apologize, Mr. Karrel. I should not have posted the comment above. After the unpleasant criticisms of Karen in the recent posts about the trees on Main Street, I decided I would not engage in such exchanges, but my resolve slipped this early morning. These few minutes later in the day I have remembered that criticism of the author of the column or of the responses is inappropriate.

  4. Sank T. Monious

    That’s what we get for sending Romney to the showers. This never would have happened on his watch. Seal Team Six will get them no matter how long it takes.

  5. I have to agree with Mr. Karrel. While this is an unfortunate occurrence, there are so many misguided assumptions and offensively inane judgements in the original note. The BMWs to start with.

    You are stooping to their level. Try a more even-keeled approach. Please. Also, it was recently reported that a few Weston kids were causing havoc in Shelton. So John is making valid points… Don’t start pointing the fingers yet.

  6. I’m confused – are we against all mailbox vandalism, or only mailboxes belonging to veterans?

  7. Joyce B,
    I note your classy response.
    For the record, my only reaction to your original post was, you’re expressing your opinion … AND attaching your real name.
    Respectfully,
    JK

  8. Sorry! That was me again just above.

  9. I remember smashing mailboxes in Westport 20 or so years ago. Believe me it’s nothing personal. It’s about a couple beers, high school rage and blowing off steam. It happens in every community (BMW or beaters). It sucks for the person it happens to. Your husband has the right frame of mind. Kids will be kids. That in part is what ur husband is fighting for. They could be working an all nighter in china!

  10. We would wake up in the wee hours of the morning to the smashing sounds of our mailbox being massaged by a baseball bat. Before I could get my pants on, the bastards car squealed away.
    I wanted to put punji stakes around it and hang a spiked ball from a tree that I could release from my bedroom window. My wife stopped me. We replaced maybe a half dozen mailboxes while my kids were at Staples (THE WRECKERS:-).
    Years later, at a mini reunion at our home, one of my sons best friends confessed and apologized. By then we all had a good laugh, but I told the little shit (he was now huge) that he was lucky I didn’t catch him back then.
    Pranksters…bet you know the culprits 🙂

  11. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I think Mrs Veteran’s original post was very well-written and well thought out, maybe except for the assumption about the kids all driving BMW’s. I don’t think it is only about a veteran’s mallbox, but that does make a bit of a difference. It may be an age-old teenager prank, but it is an annoying, senseless destruction of someone’s property which costs the mail box owner money and disruption of mail service for no reason at all. I may have been bored as a teenager, but I didn’t destroy anyone’s property.

  12. I am so confused. I too am a Veteran but what the heck does smashing mailboxes have to do with being a Veteran? What am I missing here?

    A few weeks ago someone sideswiped my Expedition and tore the drivers side mirror off but didn’t even leave a note! Who do these people think they are doing damage to a Veterans vehicle? The nerve of them. Maybe I should go purchase one of those license plate holders or bumper stickers telling everyone I’m a Veteran and maybe this won’t happen again?!?!

    Probably some kid from Staples driving a BMW…

    • Boomer nailed it.

    • Bonnie Scott Connolly

      It really doesn’t have anything to do with veterans or BMWs – Just senseless pranks that destroy property and cause expense and inconvenience to others for no reason at all.

  13. Dan,
    Can you get this posted at Staples and all the Middle Schools?
    These kids have to have an awakeningl Maybe have an all school meeting
    to talk about it.

    This is no longer a “PRANK” it is a serious destruction of private property
    and an actionable offense.

  14. Brava! Estelle, for the suggestion I think just the right one. And here’s the document from the Postal Inspection Service that should be copied and given to each student with another copy going to the parents. NB: the Federal Government considers mailboxes to be its properties.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Protecting Yourself from Mailbox Vandalism

    Rural area mailboxes are vulnerable to vandalism because they are usually isolated, located on public thoroughfares, and frequently not visible to the box owners from their homes. City residential mailboxes are vandalized to a lesser degree.

    Mailboxes are considered federal property, and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705), makes it a crime to vandalize them (or to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). Violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.

    Postal Inspectors recommend these actions to protect your mailbox and any mail that may be inside it:

    Immediately report theft, tampering or destruction of mail or mailboxes to your postmaster. You’ll be asked to complete PS Form 1510, Mail Loss and Rifling Report, or PS Form 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint. The forms help the Postal Inspection Service determine whether your problem is isolated, or one frequently experienced in your neighborhood.

    Obtain Label 33 from the Postal Inspection Service and affix it to your mailbox. The sticker warns that willful damage to mailboxes and theft of mail are crimes.

    Keep your mailbox in good repair, and make sure it’s properly installed. This may help prevent theft of the mailbox itself.
    If you have information on mailbox vandalism, call the Postal Inspection Service to report it. Your cooperation helps apprehend violators. You may provide your information or complaints to your local postmaster or your nearest Postal Inspector.

  15. Mrs. Veteran:

    I live in Norwalk, but so close to the border of Westport. I thank you for stepping up and bringing light to this matter. Although, I think the kids could be from any nearby town with not much else to do! Pretty disturbing …..
    .
    I do thank you for your husbands sacrifice and I hope you can repair your mail box. One day these teens will grow up and hopefully the same act does not happen to them.

    Thank you for sharing and God Bless. My son is 3 1/2 and I will make sure he’s not doing this when he gets older!

  16. I got that Mrs. Veteran was just trying to appeal to that small kernel of decency and ethics in the person (can we agree that it was a human, not deer or coyote?) doing the needless destruction. She could have mentioned it happened to a grandfather or teacher or coach or Starbucks barista or anyone the person didn’t mean to hurt. I do think that kids who like themselves (not easy but possible) don’t destroy property for “fun”. And if a parent hears her kids talking about someone else doing this “prank” does he or she just keep quiet? I sure hope not.

  17. Several weeks ago, four young men used a shotgun on the mailboxes outside my house in the early hours of the morning. Do you know how frightening it is to wake to the sound of gunshots just a few yards from your bed, unsure of what was being targeted? It made me wonder what ever happened to the good old days when we used toilet paper, eggs and shaving cream.

    Why is my mailbox considered federal property? I buy it and maintain it.

    • And guess what? Those were kids from Weston…and they were not driving BMWs.

      It’s shocking, I know. Maybe now “Mrs. Veteran” will think twice before writing such asinine judgements.

      • Dear friends,

        I wrote this article to bring light of the issues ALL towns have which is the age old teenage “prank”. As the rest of you have expressed, your opinions, I too have simay shared my frustration with kids driving expensive BMW’s down our side street putting the pedal to the medal and fly down our street at 50+ miles per hour with NO regard to the neighborhood they are in and the children and pets within feet of their speeding vehicle. Yes, this problem occurs everywhere, yes I indicated BMW’s specifically because those are the vehicles that I see.

        To the gentlemen who mentioned getting a veteran sticker or plate, although I know you were being wise, I bet you it will actually help! My husband has been through more in his lete and experienced more than most. And he is now working hours on end in the financial world in other countries at all hours of the night (to answer that persons comment who mentioned working in China all hours of the night).

        So to make this clear, I believe that those pranksters (sure hope they were adults being foolish) I believe if they were aware of my husbands sacrifice for their young freedom, the endless hours of no sleep due to gun shoots going off non stop wondering if that random shot would hit him or his best friend or someone in his unit, then yes I believe or would hope to believe they would not have defaced out mailbox.

        To the others hit and had their properties destroyed I wrote for them too, for awareness of the issue, for the problem they delt with-still dealing with it so they had a voice too.

        To the woman who wanted permission to post my article at Staples, Beford middle and Coleytown Middle… Lets talk more about an approach that makes sense to the population it will be addressed to.

        Best wishes Westports! And happy holidays
        Mrs. V

        (Typos courtesy of my iPhone 😉

  18. I do apologize, again, for the typos as I knew they would be there and had little time to reread and react on my way out of Grand central today. As some of you know cell service is minimal at best there.

    Happy holidays Westporters!!
    Mrs. Veteran

  19. Westport kids becoming thugs..shocking.