Friday, August 10, 2007

Wisconsin Rapids Goes Postal!!

This might actually qualify as "breaking" news ...

Ah, screw it! This now qualifies as breaking news, so I may as well go large--


Some douchebag sent God knows how many residents of Wisconsin Rapids this postcard informing the recipient that the contractors listed therein had sold their companies to out-of-town "storm chasers" (whatever that means ... I can't imagine they're referring to thrill-seeking meteorologists from the movies (think Twister) here. If I had to guess, I would imagine the phrase is a derogatory term used to refer to a breed of building contractor who preys on home owners who have recently suffered weather-related damage, something akin to calling a personal injury attorney an "ambulance chaser").

The catch is that the postcard was made to appear as if it were a "Public Notice" officially coming from the Wisconsin Rapids municipal government, who have no clue what this is all about.

This is clearly an attempt to smear the reputations of a few local businesses -- and whomever is responsible for doing this must have titanium balls to do something this outrageously audacious. (This dude's also apparently something of a cheapskate since at least one guy in Wisconsin Rapids noticed that they received the cards despite not having enough postage ... maybe the incognito con man got a bulk rate to go along with his fraud?)

So where does Oshkosh fit into all of this? Turns out the mailers were post-marked out of Oshkosh.

At least one commenter on the Wis. Rapids Tribune web site noted that there were "transient merchants" (great phrase, by the way) in the area recently trying to buy the naming rights of various local businesses, one of whom may have been from Oshkosh.

Since this is all kinds of mail fraud, I'm sure postal inspectors are looking in to this matter -- but if I'm the guy conducting the investigation there's a few questions I think would be worth asking:

-- Seriously, did the perpetrator get a bulk rate?

-- If so, did the person processing the order notice anything odd about a supposed City of Wisconsin Rapids employee posting a mass mailer to the residents of his home town in, of all places, Oshkosh?

Those questions might have easy answers to them -- I'm not pretending to be an expert on postal service protocol or anything -- but it'll be interesting to see how this one shakes out.

This may seem rather pedestrian, but messing with the USPS is a federal crime, so whatever this guy's motives were I sure as hell hope for his sake it was worth risking a few years at sunny Club Fed.

Since we here at The Chief appear to be the first ones on the scene (eat your hearts out Northwestern!), we'll treat this one like our baby and keep all 4 of our readers abreast of the all latest developments in local mail fraud.

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