Informer: Mailboxes protected by law with jail time possible for those who damage them

Published 3:00 pm Sunday, March 20, 2022

Postal mailboxes are being vandalized in the area. Is that a federal offense?

Vandalizing a blue United States Postal Service collection box is a criminal act that affects your neighbors and your community. Mail cannot be delivered to a damaged mailbox, and mailboxes cost money to replace. Plus, the mail inside will be destroyed and that could be important documents, necessary medicine, or priceless family treasures.

Mailboxes are protected by federal law and crimes against mailboxes — and the mail inside — are investigated by postal inspectors. Those who are convicted of destruction of federal property could spend up to three years in jail and be fined up to $250,000.

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To report a crime against mailboxes, call 1-877-876-2455.

Illness type

How do I know if I have a cold, the flu or COVID-19?

Testing is the best way to determine what you have since symptoms of the illnesses can overlap, experts said.

The time varies for when someone with any of the illnesses will start feeling sick. Some people infected with the coronavirus don’t experience any symptoms, but it’s still possible for them to spread it.

Cough, fever, tiredness and muscle aches are common to both the flu and COVID-19, Kristen Coleman, assistant research professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, told the Associated Press. Symptoms specific to COVID-19 include the loss of taste or smell.

Common colds, meanwhile, tend to be milder with symptoms including a stuffy nose and sore throat. Fevers are more common with the flu.

Informer is written by Crystal Stevenson, American Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email