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Run in with the law

  1. Aug 21, 2007 #1
    Ok today i had an officer deliver a package to my house. He also preceded by asking one of the my fellow residents what the package contents were and why it was ordered. Apparently UPS delivered the package to the wrong address and that person opened the package and didn't know what the bottles inside were and called the cops. And by the way there wasn't anything illegal in the box just some red gum and pvc. The resident told the officer that the package contained chemicals for chemistry, because they had no idea what was in the package , although the bottles were neatly labeled and even had the uses printed on the label. I was just asking if i should be worried about being put on a watch list or something this whole situation seems unnecessary to me. I would just like some thought and opinions on this matter. Thank You
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2007 #2
    Chances are if the bottles were clearly labeled as to their intended uses and they weren't any kind of precurser chemicals or controlled substances, than they probably won't waste resources pursuing the matter any further.

    Just beware that with the advent of the "patriot act" anyone can be put on a watch list if suspicions are raised. Probable cause is excersized at their discretion.

    But if you're not doing anything wrong, let them watch! It's a little unnerving, but that's the price you pay sometimes for knowledge.

    I have ordered things online from time to time, because of the work I do, which is all above board, so I have nothing to worry about.

    Best advice...if you're not doing anything illegal, don't worry about it.

    Just my $.02 on the matter. Hope this eases your tension.

    Jim
     
  4. Aug 22, 2007 #3

    Gokul43201

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    What exactly was this "red gum"?
     
  5. Aug 22, 2007 #4
    Red Gum is used as a binder. It is alcohol soluble.
     
  6. Aug 22, 2007 #5

    EnumaElish

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    How about PVC and red gum? Why do you need them in combination?
     
  7. Aug 22, 2007 #6
    Cause he is developing chemical weapons! Am I the only one who can see that!?!?!
     
  8. Aug 22, 2007 #7

    mgb_phys

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    Of course if this was the UK then after it had been proven that it was impossible to make a bomb from these materials here would be a knee-jerk reaction and you would be banned from taking more 2 stick of gum on a plane.
     
  9. Aug 22, 2007 #8

    Gokul43201

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    The obvious guess is to launch fireworks/propel projectiles - clearly good enough reason for a neighbor to be worried.
     
  10. Aug 22, 2007 #9
    Isn't it illegal to open someone else's mail? I wonder what the proper legal procedure is for mail delivered to your residence by accident.
     
  11. Aug 22, 2007 #10

    Moonbear

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    It wasn't through the postal service, but from UPS, so it's at least not a Federal crime, but I was wondering about that too. Who just accepts a random package without looking at the address before proceeding to open it? Seems the tables could have been turned and a police report filed (along with a complaint to UPS) that your package was accepted and opened by someone who didn't belong touching it...and of course the Rolex watch you ordered with that other stuff was missing. :biggrin:
     
  12. Aug 22, 2007 #11
    the items themselves sound harmless, but there are other factors in the watch list thing. have you, your friend or any of your friends' friends been to the middle east in the last 10 years? have you visited chat rooms with a violent, anti-american tone? if you are muslim, are the leaders of your local mosque radical? if you have answered yes to any of these questions, you can expect a cavity search any time you go through customs. if you answered yes to all of these questions, be sure not to joke about any terrorist actions on the phone or it may be considered evidence of terrorist intentions by the FBI. and for god sake if you are brought in for questioning, dont even think about joking about a confession or you could be looking at 20 years in prison.

    i joke but you know, lodi was a real mockery of justice
     
  13. Aug 22, 2007 #12

    EnumaElish

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    A professional journal delivered to my office via USPS today had a clear, odorless, sticky substance on its cover. (It was mailed without an envelope.)
     
  14. Aug 22, 2007 #13

    mgb_phys

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    In the middle of the last Anthrax scare a UK mobile phone company mailed hard sugar candies to lots of people as part of an ad campaign. Given the nature of mail, these all arrived as crushed white powder in the bottom of envelopes!

    A few years ealier Sun mailed people old fashioned 'bells on top' type alarm clocks with wires coming out of them as part of a 'wake up to solaris' campaign, as most of their customers were city institutions or military/goverment labs that caused a few panics!
     
  15. Aug 22, 2007 #14
    I can't envision someone accepting a package they knew wasn't addressed to them unless they were hoping for a rolex or the like. I think the person who accepted this package has committed some sort of crime against UPS by falsely claiming the person to whom it was actually addressed lived there. Isn't this why UPS gets the signature of the person who accepts the package? I think squall has some grounds for making trouble for these people.
     
  16. Aug 22, 2007 #15
    yeah i always thought opening mail that doesn't belong to you is illegal but the police officer's explanation was that the person who received the package wasn't wearing his glasses so he did not see the address. which i think is a load of bs. But i am not to worried about it since the package was labeled and even if they put me on a watch list i have nothing to hide. I just wish i could somehow complain to UPS and get them to deliver to the right address, because they have delivered other packages to the wrong house in the past.
     
  17. Aug 22, 2007 #16

    Evo

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    They weren't expecting a package and agreed to take it and then proceed to open it without putting on their glasses (assuming they were that blind) that's total BS. They were hoping it was something of value.
     
  18. Aug 22, 2007 #17
    I agree, not having your specs on is not a good enough reason to disregard the law.

    If I were you squall, I would reciprocate in this matter.

    Jim
     
  19. Aug 23, 2007 #18
    Red gum is used in making fireworks, you are definitely on a watch list. If you have packages delivered from chemical companies UPS is required to notify authorities.

    It may not have been a neighbor who opened your package.
     
  20. Aug 23, 2007 #19
    Why wouldn't the cops just say "We're required to do this, blah blah blah." Why the charade?
     
  21. Aug 23, 2007 #20

    chemisttree

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    Hmmmm. Red gum - pyrotechnic binder. PVC - pyrotechnic binder and flame color enhancer. You are definitely being watched. I think that since the officer hand delivered the package to you the visit was to clue you in to the fact that things you buy through the mail can easily be intercepted and inspected. The story was no doubt a cover to reinforce to you how easily the authorities can intercept and inspect your UPS shipment. I believe it is also probable that he wanted to judge your reaction to the whole affair in-person. Did you blanch and stammer some incoherent babble when the officer met you? He's reading your body language and trying to get a glimpse inside your room to see if you fit some profile no doubt. Not a good time to answer the door wearing your 'Che' shirt! It's not illegal to order these things and receive them in the mail so there is little likelihood that anything further will happen. But be assured that if anything illegal or requiring a license is addressed to you, it will be intercepted and charges/fines will be on the menu.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2007
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