In Point Breeze, mail delivery is spotty at best

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Where's Jerry Seinfeld when you need him?

In a classic episode of "Seinfeld," he takes over postal employee Newman's mail route and manages to deliver the mail to nearly 80 percent of customers.

"Nobody's ever cracked the 50 percent barrier!" an aghast Newman complains.

Out on Kinsman Road in Point Breeze, it seems, they'd be happy with the 50 percent for as spotty as they say their mail service has been lately.

Some 30 households in that neighborhood say they have been complaining for several months now about not getting their mail. Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn't.

They say they've not received bills, checks, magazines, letters.

Jim Reitz, 78, a Kinsman resident who has talked to many of his neighbors in person and by email, said he has tried to get an answer out of the post office to no avail.

The best explanation appears to be that the street's regular letter carrier got sick at the end of January and the replacements haven't been up to the task.

"Almost everyone [on the street] told me they're not getting mail on certain days," Mr. Reitz said. "They have mail missing, they have checks missing."

He said he didn't get any mail on April 1 and 2, nor did nine of his neighbors who responded to his emails.

A broker who runs a company called Business Ventures, he said he's still waiting for a $2,000 check for a signed contract sent March 28.

He's also still waiting for rebate checks mailed from American Express in early February. He said he called American Express, which confirmed that the checks were sent and haven't been cashed. So, Mr. Reitz said, where are they?

"There have been six to eight different days in that last eight weeks when we have received no mail," he said in an email. "I've lived here 25 years and have a business. We always, always get at least some mail. It might be junk mail, but some mail."

Other neighbors had similar tales. One said he received a warning of termination of insurance because he never got the renewal notices. Another said he's missing mail from his bank, a credit card company and an individual.

"Please add us to the houses that have had screwed-up mail," he told Mr. Reitz.

Some frustrated residents said they have talked to the replacement employees to try to figure out what has been happening.

"One of these carriers said that he sees bags of undelivered mail in the boxes," one wrote. "They are supposed to take it back to have it resorted/re-delivered, but we all know that is not happening."

Another resident said she had been told by someone at the post office that the matter was part of a federal criminal investigation.

The post office said there is no federal investigation but could not explain exactly what the problem has been.

Part of it could be the fact that the regular carrier in that area was out and the vacant route was broken up among other carriers, said spokesman Tad Kelley, although he said all are full-time postal employees who are well-trained.

He also said bad winter weather could have been a factor on some days, although obviously has not been an issue in recent weeks.

"I don't have a specific answer," he said. "We apologize for the service on that street."

He said a permanent carrier is back on the route and the manager of the East Liberty station will make sure the mail gets delivered. Meanwhile, he said, anyone missing mail should go to the post office and file a form called a Mail Loss and Rifling Report.

"We're going to strictly monitor that route," Mr. Kelley said. "We take this very seriously."


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.

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