NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - It’s usually a quick post office run. Pull up, put your main in the blue box and drive away.
Gilbert Cohen was out running errands when the first call came in.
For west Nashville resident Paula Monte, however, that typical errand turned into an unforgettable experience.
People say they have put checks inside the mailbox behind the Five Points Post Office Station on Columbia Avenue that have been stolen.
“I won’t put a check in the mailboxes ever again,” Monte said.
The drive-up postal collection box in front of the USPS location on Highway 70 in Bellevue is a frequent stop for many.
Monte said in early September she dropped a bill into the Green Hills Post Office blue box out front. A few days later, she checked her account.
“I was shocked to find out it had been written for way more than I wrote it for,” Monte said.
It turned out to be much more.
“When I pulled up the image, it was clearly not my handwriting,” Monte said.
Monte contacted her bank right away.
“You would assume that a federally-protected mailbox would be safe, and it’s obviously not,” Monte said.
Within the past year, there’s been an uptick in blue box thefts.
Postal Inspector Kristen Finney says they have noticed thefts at several post office locations, including Green Hills, Belle Meade, The Jere Baxter location, Goodlettsville, Smyrna and Franklin.
Approximately 45 blue box thefts were reported since January. From September to October alone, around 15 were reported.
Finney said thieves are prying open blue boxes, targeting checks and money orders.
“Because there have been so many locations, we’re having to get the funds to put up those additional surveillance cameras,” Finney said.
The Post Office encourages customers to bring their mail inside the post office. If you do like using the blue boxes, postal officials said place your mail inside before the last pick up time. Also, if you see something suspicious, let them know.
“It’s a federal crime, and once we do catch these individuals we do plan on prosecuting them,” Finney said.
Finney believes thieves seem to be targeting at the beginning and the end of the month.
They said the investigation remains active and ongoing.
If you think you are a victim of postal box theft, call 1-866-270-3950.