MISSING MAIL: Feds investigate Truckee’s lost letters
October 20, 2008
Federal investigators are working to locate a batch of missing mail that disappeared after it was loaded onto a truck in Truckee bound for a Reno mail distribution center.
“We can’t say it was lost. We can’t say it was theft. We know it is missing,” said David Rupert, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
The mail was sent from Truckee on Sept. 22, said Rupert. And now postal inspectors are trying to track down where the undetermined amount of mail ended up.
One thing they have figured out is that the Truckee post office is not at fault, said Rupert.
“We know it was dispatched from Truckee. It got on the truck,” he said.
The investigation is a daunting one, given that 580 million pieces of mail travel through the U.S. Postal system each day.
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“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Rupert.
For Truckee postal customers, who are still waiting for their mail to reach its destination, the missing mail means lost checks and past-due bills.
“We had about a dozen checks lost,” said Howard Bronstone, a Truckee resident and business owner. “We had to stop those checks which costs roughly $25 a check.
Bronstone said he understands that mistakes happen, but is angry it took the post office a month to say anything.
Bob Stull, another resident and business owner, said the lost mail has meant credit cards went un-paid, interest rates have gone up, and he’s even lost business.
“Who do we send a bill to? Is the post office going to pay for this?” Stull said. “This is how ridiculous the post office is.”
Bank of the West Customer Service Manager Tamsen Rosario said all together about 15 customers at the Truckee branch have reported checks not clearing because of the lost mail.
“We’re instructing people to either close their accounts and open a new one or stop payment on those checks,” Rosario said. “It’s a hard situation because either those checks are floating around and their information is compromised or they’ll never surface.”
The Town of Truckee received word about the missing mail, said Town Clerk Judy Price, and that a federal investigation is underway.
The town government itself lost mail on Sept. 22, Price said.
If you are a Truckee postal customer who lost mail, the post office has drafted a letter that will notify companies and creditors of the problem, said U.S. Postal Spokesman David Rupert. Almost all creditors will forgive late fees or other charges when presented with the letter, he said.
The letter can be requested at the Truckee post office, said Rupert.
Rupert also said postal customers should pay close attention to their financial statements and alert the post office if any suspicious charges show up.
“It’s going to take people helping us out,” said Rupert of the investigation into the missing mail.