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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