By Gitzel Puente. CREATED Mar 21, 2014
PALM SPRINGS - Driving to a collection box and dropping off your mail can be fast and convenient, but is it safe?
Some Valley residents are claiming their mail is being stolen from the drop-off boxes outside the SmokeTree Post Office at Sunrise and Palm Canyon Drive.
"The day that I mailed the check was the day that it was washed and cashed," says Tony Clark, owner of Consign Design.
He says he dropped off a cashier's check for more than $600 at the Smoke Tree collection box, and it was stolen.
He has a theory of how the thieves could get ahold of the mail.
"It's my understanding that what's happening is they're putting some sort of device down there maybe some string with some tape on it and they're pulling them all out," says Clark.
It seems like Clark may not be the only one with this problem. On Wednesday, at least two other people posted the same concern on the Palm Springs Neighborhood Group Facebook page.
Reggie Cameron posted, "So I discovered this morning that mail I sent out in the box were stolen, which included a check and some additional items."
Complaints like these are not unheard of to some employees at the Smoke Tree post office. One employee says he hears about mail theft at least once a month.
"Considering that I own a business in Palm Springs, you would think that they would let us know that it's probably not safe to put mail in our box," says Clark.
A representative from the Postal Inspection Service says residents shouldn't be alarmed. According to her, mail thefts in the location are not very common.
She did provide some tips to anyone who falls victim to mail fraud.
One, file a mail theft complaint to the Postal Inspection Service online and contact your local police station.
If a check or money or some kind was involved, contact your bank.
Also, she suggests to not leave any mail inside the collection boxes after hours. She says this invites crime.
Clark, however, isn't taking any risks and stops using the drop-off boxes to avoid another mail theft.
"I have to go into the post office and drop the mail off, which is not too much of an inconvenience, but it would be nice just to drive through the mailbox and drop it in," says Clark.