Officials investigate multiple claims of stolen checks outside Horsham, Pa. post office

"Magically, my $17.80 check had changed to $6,209 out of my account," said Sam Chiodo from Horsham.
HORSHAM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Postal Inspection Service Office and Horsham Police Department are investigating multiple claims of stolen checks out of the blue collection box outside of a U.S. post office.

"Magically, my $17.80 check had changed to $6,209 out of my account," said Sam Chiodo from Horsham.

Chiodo said Sunday he dropped a check into the blue collection box on the 500 block of Horsham Road, only for it to be washed.

"Apparently, this isn't an isolated incident, and that's a little frightening. It's scary," he added.

Erin MacEntee says she's out around $5,000 after a check she mailed out of the same bin as Chiodo last month got addressed to someone she didn't know.

"The signature on the check was my husband's, so the signature and date were the same, but everything else had been changed," said MacEntee.

MacEntee adds this is the second time this has happened to her this summer.

"I feel very violated. I mean, the fact that someone can take that much money out of your account that you use every day. It's been a nightmare. It really has," she said.

Resident Lesley Heebner says a time-sensitive check dropped in the bin, addressed to district court last month, never made it there, incurring late fees and penalties.

"I thought if I took it to the post office, and put it outside the box, outside the post office, that it would get to where it needed to be, and it didn't," said Heebner.

U.S. postal inspector George Clark told Action News a way to prevent this is to send your mail before the collection time, during the day.

"When the post office shuts down, no one's there, and no one's emptying those boxes at night," said Clark. "What happens is those blue collection boxes will be emptied periodically through the day at the times that are indicated."

Clark says this could lead to a crime of opportunity.

"From my experience, these are very hard cases to solve, and I know people might think that's not the case, just follow the check, follow the money, but sometimes that's a lot easier said than done," he added.

It's unclear how and when the letters were allegedly stolen, but authorities say they will continue their investigation.

Chiodo and MacEntee said they are working with their bank to try and get their money back.
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