TAMAQUA, PA. -- Police in one Schuylkill County community are sending a warning to residents.
Tamaqua police are investigating several mail thefts from postal drop boxes around the borough.
If you're about to drop a check in the mail, watch out.
That's the message from Tamaqua police who are investigating thefts of mail with checks inside from postal drop boxes around the borough.
Those checks were then changed to different recipients, or in some cases, the amount of money was altered.
Todd Miller co-owns M&S Hardware and says he's had to deal with this in the past.
“I've had a number of incidents where customers have come in actually, some commercial accounts that we have, and their mail has been stolen out of the boxes and checks, and it's very disturbing,” said Miller.
Police say it's unknown how the mail is being removed from the drop boxes.
There are several boxes on the busy streets in the borough.
An inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Philadelphia says he's working with Tamaqua investigators.
“It really doesn't surprise me. I shouldn't say it shocks or surprises me, you know?” said Marcy Gaul. “Because of all the bad in town today and everywhere, drugs.”
“Someone waiting, expecting for that check to pay their bills or that's how they live from day to day, week to week,” said Edward Altemose.
The postal inspector reminds people that stealing or tampering with mail is a federal offense and could lead to federal charges. It's also considered to be state crime and could lead to the filing of state charges.
“That's something you just don't slap them on the wrist and say don't do it again. That's something where they got to pay the price,” said Altemose.
That inspector suggests avoiding leaving mail containing checks in the boxes overnight by not dropping it off after the last pickup of the day.
Tamaqua police recommend either taking mail directly to the post office or have your home's mail carrier take it with them.
“All our mail stays in house, and the postal service collects it within the store as they're dropping off mail in-store,” said Miller. “We have checks going out just like some of these businesses do, we have lots of statements going out.”
Police in Tamaqua are asking people to keep a watchful eye for any suspicious activity around the borough's mailboxes.