Suburban grandma says USPS is helping out after her grandkids’ Valentine’s Day gifts were stolen en route to California


CHICAGO (CBS) – A suburban grandmother sent a Valentine’s Day care package to her family in California – and wouldn’t you know, the presents weren’t there when the package arrived for her young grandchildren .

Now grandma is getting bothered by the mail – and she asked us to get involved.

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Sharon Thomas told CBS 2’s Tara Molina that her grandchildren’s package arrived late and was tampered with – and their gifts were all stolen.

Thomas closely followed the path of the boxes through USPS facilities. Turns out, it took quite a journey to reach its destination — first going from Illinois to Iowa, then to three different facilities in California.

She said it was gutted and repackaged at some point along the way.

“This is not the condition of the box I sent,” she said, showing us a photo of the box with its packing tape and other weathered seals.

(Credit: Sharon Thomas)

Thomas is now demanding answers from the US Postal Service. She said the package had been filled with toys, storybooks and maps – but when the box arrived in California and her grandchildren opened it, it only contained quality furniture bags commercial inside.

Sharon Thomas Box

(Credit: Sharon Thomas)

“Why would you want to steal children?” said Thomas.

Thomas returned to his local USPS and asked how it went. She said an employee was surprised to see the photo of the doctored box.

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“One of the ladies remembered me and said, ‘There was no black tape on your box,'” Thomas said.

But there were no answers to his questions about the late, reconditioned box. Thomas was told she should have insured her care package.

She also said that after reviewing her tracking information, “they said they had a problem” at a facility the box went through in Moreno Valley, California.

Thomas brought all of this, including questions about issues at this facility, directly to the USPS. A spokesperson said they would need to see “if there is an investigation at this facility or any security issues,” and forwarded Molina to the USPS Inspector General’s office.

Between the box, shipping, and gifts, Thomas said she now has “almost $90.”

Thomas said she was replacing the freebies and is still waiting to see if USPS will cover the new shipping costs.

It was her request after this experience, which she hopes will serve as a warning to others.

The USPS Chicago spokesperson also issued the following advisory:

“Customers can contact the Postal Inspection Department to file a report at https://www.uspis.gov/report or call 1-877-876-2455.”

The USPS also said it shared Thomas’s contact information with Consumer Affairs in its southern suburbs district.

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The USPS Office of Inspector General released this statement:

“Because the OIG is looking into this matter, we cannot comment on any investigations or inquiries opened. The USPS employs more than 600,000 employees, and the vast majority are hard workers who take pride in processing and moving the U.S. Mail In the unfortunate event that an employee is determined to be involved in mail theft, the OIG aggressively pursues criminal cases for federal, state, and/or local prosecution.


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