Berkeley mail disrupted after human waste put in mailbox

The South Berkeley Post Office at 3175 Adeline St. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Two mailboxes outside the South Berkeley Post Office, at 3175 Adeline St., were vandalized in September. Photo: Emilie Raguso

South Berkeley U.S. Postal Service users may have noticed the removal and subsequent return of an outdoor mailbox on Adeline Street in mid-September.

According to Augustine Ruiz Jr., postal service spokesman, two boxes outside the station were removed after it was discovered that someone had been dumping human waste inside them in early September.

One of the boxes was cleaned and put back outside the station. But Ruiz said, via email, there isn’t much the agency can do to keep the problem from recurring. 

“We can only react when made aware that our boxes have been compromised,” he said.

The mail inside the boxes when the vandalism took place “was tagged as possibly hazardous material, since it involved human waste, and sent to our Oakland mail processing facility for handling.”

Some users of the post office, who said the incident happened over Labor Day weekend, said they had deposited mail, which never made it to its destination.

Ruiz said that these kinds of hazards “occur on occasion, and each situation is addressed on a case by case basis.”

He said the post office needs the public’s help to keep the boxes secure.

“The public can help by keeping an eye on the collection boxes and notifying the Postmaster when anything suspicious is noticed. We do the same thing when our carriers serve our communities. They keep an eye out for suspicious activities on their appointed rounds. Every day, somewhere in the country, a letter carrier has come to the aid of a customer in need, helped put out fires, rescued lost children, etc.”

Ruiz said that, though only one of the boxes has been replaced, community members can expect the second one to be returned as well.

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  • bgal4

    “Pooper lady” is a well known problem for many years on Adeline, tons of resources spent on this one person, no change, constant problems caused by this one addict. A few months ago I heard over the scanner cops respond to M&H liquor for service, “pooper lady” was in the store buying alcohol with a needle still hanging in her arm. They sent her via ambulance for medical care.

  • Doug F

    The PO appears to have never heard of a surveillance camera. They could also be thinking about the last crazy homeless person who had to be kicked out of the PO for being disruptive or making the customers gag.

  • guest

    Free medical care paid for with your tax dollars. Yay.

  • galaxy_pie

    […]I would say that she’s on the street because there is NO mental healthcare in this country. She is one of the reasons why our stinking private non-universal healthcare is costing so much; EMTs and emergency rooms (and law enforcement) have to deal with her periodically. While I’d say that Berkeley has a terrible homeless problem mostly because they LET people live on the street, the homeless problem was created by typical U.S. conservative Republican policies. But then, I’d suppose that you think she should be denied medical care because she’s not mentally capable of working?

    [This comment has been moderated. –Eds.]

  • jrantz

    You might want to go beyond your narrow view of the situation and consider she is on the street in the first place because we have long ago abdicated our responsibility to treat mentally ill patients. We should not be surprised that this is what we get when we simply turn them loose.

  • guest

    We don’t know that she HASN’T received mental health care.

  • Jason Higgins

    We refer to her as “hoo hoo” because, for the longest time she let her lady bits hang out while she walked. She would constantly use a dark corner of our building as her public restroom. I love that someone immediately turned this into a government issue. This woman has been picked up by the ambulance SO many times that I know for a fact she has received more medical and mental health assistance than most of us. She is a mess! It would not surprise me if she was one of the people, if not the ONLY person, that is doing this. I cannot tell you the amount of times we have had to clean up messes that she has left, including toilet paper and whatever else she could find to wipe. There are WAY too many homeless people in this area and they are turning the neighborhood to crap … literally!

  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    Curb your human.

  • guest

    thank god the city council is considering building a new hive to attract more homeless to downtown

  • Woolsey

    Perhaps the problem was at least partially created by the Lanterman/Petris/Short Act, 2 dems and an repub, that effectively ended involuntary confinement. I would guess that many of these folks do not want to get off the street (based on a few I tried to talk to and help). Their view of their needs is likely very different than your view of their needs. As long as we tolerate it, the antisocial behavior will continue…and we will have more of it because we are more tolerant.

  • Completely_Serious

    Hey, what kid hasn’t dropped a turd in a mail box, or blown up a water fountain with an M80, or left a bag of flaming dog doo on the mean neighbor’s porch? Come on, let the kids have some fun.

    I’m nostalgic for a latch key childhood. ;0

  • tiredofitall

    This “Pooper Lady” / “HooHoo” sounds like a neighbor’s daughter.
    The woman I’m familiar with- – her usual base is on the cinderblock wall outside of the old Iceland skating rink, on the corner of Milvia & Ward.
    She poops in dumpster areas, on her mother’s doorstep, on the sidewalk, in the middle of the street. Last time I saw her, she looked like her jaw was dislocated or broken. She was in really bad shape, and ended up being picked up in an ambulance & taken to John George after smoking speed behind the chain-link fence on the Ward st. side of the old skating rink.
    She is Hepatitis C positive, and seems to be refusing medical care for both the Hep C & mental health issues.

  • galaxy_pie

    True. It’s punishment to allow psychotic people go without care and live on the streets (not to mention that it lowers the quality of life for everyone else). However, even if they had a handler who could push them towards help, there is so little available. Talk to anyone who has dealt with a chronically and severely mentally ill relative. Their hands are tied. These are organic brain disorders; it’s not as if they are EMPLOYABLE. It’s not an economic issue. Every society has to deal with their mentally ill. Ours get temporarily committed to cool down after causing a ruckus and then sent on their way, maybe with a prescription for medicine that would cost hundreds per month to actually fill. Maybe they’re even given a one-way bus ticket out of town (to Berkeley).

  • brokedownsystem

    man, that sucks…I feel for you and the other local residents.

  • B2B

    I don’t think they’re the same the person – I’ve seen a pic of the pooper lady and she is much smaller than the woman you’re talking about.

  • skeptic

    And yet, oddly, we seem to be able to come up with near infinite amounts of money to lock up drug offenders.

  • Iceland_1622

    This has been coming for a long time now. Let’s see who prevails and how i.e. by what process or mechanism, it can be resolved — if at all. It’s damn safer in NYC now if you enjoy or can look past the militarized police state it’s now become. Even then, they *cannot* stop this, nor can we. They are here.