South San Francisco, CA  May 20, 2020Tuttle police deliver advice to curb mail theft | Community ...

We recently had a concerned neighbor reach out to warn us of a stranger in the area who was checking mailboxes at two different locations. The warning included photos and the information that this had been reported to South San Francisco Police Department, however, the person in question was no longer in sight when police arrived.


With so many people out of work and hurting for income, and so much money coming through the post office with tax refunds, stimulus checks, EDD, etc. it is important that we all keep an eye on our mail, and on each other’s homes when we see something suspicious. In a recent newsletter from the City sent to residents, a full page was utilized warning of scams, so many are aware these trying times have seen an uptick in new crimes.  And on Wednesday, May 27th Assemblyman Kevin Mullin will be hosting a virtual meeting on Scammer Stoppers as they relate to COVID19 {info HERE} Concerns are real!


So, we shared the photos sent to us, along with the information, as we always do, as a neighborhood alert. Well, lo and behold, one of our readers was shocked to identify the person in the photos – it was HER!!


‘Mail thief? I most certainly am not a Mail Thief!’


A dear friend of mine passed on your article about a “supposed” mail thief in South San Francisco. I would like to explain that the thief is me. My dear friend is at the moment out of the country and has asked me to keep an eye on his mail while he is gone. So once a week I walk to his mailbox, USE HIS KEY, and open his and only his mailbox. I then gather any mail that is there and bring it home. And yes, I live 20 minutes up the hill, where I do open MY OWN mailbox, remove MY OWN mail, and return to my own home.

Quite frankly, I’m very creeped out that this person followed me to my own home.

I understand that people are fearful of what they do not know…but I clearly only opened one mailbox – it’s not like I was breaking into the entire mail center. Is it such an oddity for someone to help out a friend who is out of town? Please let your readers know that the “thief” is actually a citizen who donates her time to the children of South San Franciso through the public library system. I am someone who actually cares about this community.

I would appreciate the actual story being explained. I am no thief, I am a good friend.

Sophie Maletsky



So, we did edit our original write up and explained to the concerned neighbor, who felt terrible at the misidentification. Yet this seemed like a great opportunity to take advantage of a ‘teaching moment’, to which Sophie agreed, as she further wrote;


‘It causes me to pause and think about the fear, worry, angst, confusion, pain, and ignorance in our nation right now. We as a nation have been fed so much false/bad news that we now see it everywhere…even in the simplest of acts.
I am sure the person who wrote you thought they were doing the neighborhood a service…I feel nothing but compassion for this poor soul who is so wrapped up in fear that they see it outside their door…’


Sophie’s words cut deep, the amount of ‘fear, worry, angst, confusion’ so many are experiencing these days, not knowing how to navigate this ‘new normal’ that continues to change daily. While we need to be vigilant and aware of what is happening around us, have we perhaps become too fearful we forget how to be neighborly? What if the concerned neighbor had simply introduced themselves and inquired where they lived?


Have we become so jaded, so fearful of each other, that we now take ‘social distancing’ to a whole new level where we are afraid to interact with each other? Is this who we have become as a City? More importantly, what can we do to reclaim our once ‘small-town feeling’, the one so many of us grew up in, and the reason so many of us moved to South City? This is an open-ended question and comments are most welcomed as we work to keep together – while still remaining apart.



This was also a learning experience for Sophie as she says “This did make me realize just how oblivious I may be to my surroundings when I’m out and about.” So we know there is a balance between being overly aware and suspicious and oblivious, and in this new normal, it seems perhaps a moving target to get that balance right. “There used to be a time when people weren’t afraid of each other…when did that change I wonder?” she muses.


Endless creative fun for kids of all ages is what you will find at Sophie’s World!


For those who know South City’s Sophie from Sophie’s World, you probably can appreciate how surprised she was at being mistaken as a suspicious person because of her open, friendly, and helpful attitude which is the cornerstone of her successful business. While we are sheltered in place, and many of us with our home full of little ones, Sophie’s World is THEE place to turn to for fun, safe projects for kids of all ages. Maybe that is what we all need more of, to reach inside to our inner child that remembers a time of innocence, and to express ourselves through fun and creative play. To that end, we invite everyone to please visit Sophie’s World and creatively entertain a child, if even that child is you!

Although Sophie’s brick and mortar business may temporarily be closed during the SIP, she is finding herself plenty busy as she expresses, “I’ve been producing a ton of video while sheltered in place – storytimes in the morning, art classes in the afternoon, virtual birthday parties and take your kid to work days…it’s been pretty crazy. Lots of fun stuff.”  Be sure to sign up for Sophie’s newsletter to stay on top of all the great projects, storytimes, and classes she is offering – Great activities that are educational, creative, fun – and free! {CLICK HERE to sign up}


Sophie also offers up some good ole fashion thinking, with a new twist, that we all may do well to take to heart. “I personally like to greet everyone with a smileeven if it is just with my eyes now.”


NOTE: This was a first for ESC to use a ‘CLICK BAIT’ title, yet the original posting of a suspicious person was shared far and wide and we greatly appreciate your sharing of this story even further.Thank you.
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