A Branson, Missouri, man thinks that someone in his local post office shares his taste in films.
Robert Halamicek is one of two USPS customers in Branson who have reported that DVDs they rented from online video rental suppliers have arrived one or two days later than expected, with indications the package had already been opened.
"They are pushing the DVD off the sticky substance that holds it in place in the package," said Halamicek. "Then they are sliding the DVD out of a seam in the packaging." He added that lately whoever is previewing his movies has been steaming the package to make it easier to get at the DVD without tearing the packaging.
According to Halamicek, the thief or thieves make two small tears in the packaging to first peer inside and see if it's a movie they would like. Halamicek said he frequently receives DVDs on time that have been tampered in this manner.
If the movie bandit likes the movie, it will arrive one or two days later with the DVD no longer fastened in place in the package, he said.
After being passed from one department to the next, Robert put in an investigation with his local branch.
"We watched for his DVDs for a couple of weeks and found no sign of theft," said Branson Post Master Alex Tipton. "If anyone's stealing mail, it's not trivial. I take it pretty seriously."
"For two weeks it stopped," Halamecik said. "Now it's happening again."
Robert thought he was alone until one of his coworkers, a Blockbuster.com customer in Branson, shared an identical story.
"We have not had any other complaints," said Tipton who plans to resume Halamicek's investigation.
Netflix, which mails 1.4 million DVDs per day, has had almost no problems with mail fraud, Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey said.
"More than 90 percent of Netflix customers get their DVDs within one day," Swasey said.
USPS customers who are having this or similar problems should contact their local office by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (275-8777), according to Patricia Armstrong, spokeswoman for the USPS Office of Inspector General.
Armstrong said if customers are having problems with someone at the local level, they should talk to the person' supervisor. "Everyone has a supervisor," she said.
Netflix customers can also file an e-mail complaint with Netflix, which works closely with the USPS, or call 1-888-NetFlix (638-3549), Swasey said.