When Nicole Marquez spotted what looked like a United States Postal Service mail bin tossed in a central Phoenix alley like trash, she almost couldn't believe what she was looking at.
“When I saw, it though, it was obvious it had totally been snatched out of the window of the letter carrier truck,” said Marquez.
The bin was dumped behind her home off Portland Street in the F.Q. Story historic neighborhood.
“I actually went and looked at the mail that was in it still and I just immediately was like, ‘Oh my goodness’,” Marquez said.
Marquez confirmed the mail was addressed to neighbors on her street. She said it looked like whoever swiped the bin took the mail that looked valuable and left the junk behind.
“It's like 'OK, so now what do you do?'” she said. “You don't even know what mail is missing.”
Marquez reported the incident to the U.S. Postal Service, which confirmed it’s still investigating how the bin could have gone from the truck to the alley.
As for any possible mail theft, a USPS representative said there's no way of knowing exactly what was in the bin and if anything with sensitive information was taken.
The rep also said that when the bin was found, there were only three pieces of mail it, and they were delivered to the proper homes.
“You just have to stay vigilant and know what's coming (in the mail),” Marquez said.
For Marquez, the bin is just another example of an ongoing problem with mail and package theft in the area.
“If I'm home when letter carriers are out, I will even sit out on the front porch just to make sure while they're walking their route, somebody isn't following right behind them,” she said.
Now with the holiday season here, she's warning other homeowners to be on the lookout for so-called porch pirates or those brave enough to possibly swipe a bin right off a mail truck.
“The problem is there's no recourse,” said Marquez. “You can get them on video. You can do whatever you want, but at the end of the day you have to find that person and track them down in order to get any kind of justice.”
USPS does have a program called Informed Delivery, which allows people to track any mail or packages being delivered to their home online, making it easier to see if something is missing.
The program is free and you can sign up online.