Mail found in creek near Timmonsville reportedly stolen from mailboxes

Mail found in creek near Timmonsville reportedly stolen from mailboxes
The creek where the stolen mail was found on Garner's Mill Pond Road. (Source: WMBF News)
The creek where the stolen mail was found on Garner's Mill Pond Road. (Source: WMBF News)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Mail reportedly stolen out of mailboxes was recovered during the holiday weekend after being found in a creek near Timmonsville.

A Florence County deputy got a call Sunday that a large amount of mail was found in the creek off Garners Mill Pond Road. Deputies say addresses found on the mail were from Florence and Darlington counties. Most of the mail has been recovered from the creek, but as on Monday, some pieces were still floating in the water.

Most of the addresses found are from neighborhoods like Grove Park and Windsor Forest. People there now said they are very skeptical of their mail disappearing, especially during the holidays. They've noticed their mail has been scattered and are afraid checks or bills are now gone.

The Florence County Sheriff's Office said they are assisting the U.S. Postal Inspector with the investigation.

The United States Postal Service released the following statement:

The Postal Service is aware of recently discarded mail and a joint mail theft investigation by Postal Inspectors and Florence County Sheriff's Office deputies is underway. Meanwhile, a majority of the mail has already been recovered and efforts are underway to retrieve the remaining items from the water. The Postal Service will attempt to clean the mail and deliver it as soon as possible. We regret any inconvenience this will cause our valued customers. Customers who are expecting a specific item or have concerns may contact the Postal Service at 800-275-8777.

"Mail theft is a federal crime and the Postal Inspection Service is committed to investigating these matters," said Postal Inspector Steve Stebbins. "Anyone with information, whether they are a witness or may overhear people talking about the crime, is encouraged to report the information to the Postal Inspection Service or Florence County Sheriff's Office."

Mary McDougal said this is the first time in 25 years that she has noticed something like this in her neighborhood.

"We were home most of the weekend, we were out of town one night but we got some mail, but mainly just advertisements, so you never know," McDougal said. "But I am waiting for some packages to come too and I haven't seen those, I'll have to call on those to see where they are."

McDougal said she received a notice of a late bill, but did not receive the first bill. "Also I am waiting for a couple of checks I have not seen the checks and I hate to call and ask where the checks are if the people already sent them. I have a feeling people are going through our mailboxes, and if they don't see any cars in the driveway, they think nobody is at home," McDougal said.

Tim Heustess also lives in Grove Park and tells WMBF News he was gone over the holiday weekend for five days. "When I went to check the mailbox, I noticed there was no mail. We had three business days over that period, and there was zero mail in the mailbox this time."

Heustess added, not even advertisements or junk mail were inside the mailbox. He said, "It kind of makes you wonder what else could be going on too. It does make you a little suspicious, I'm not quite paranoid for it yet, but it'll certainly make me watch the mailbox more during the holidays a lot more."

McDougal stated, "You have to be real careful. It's not just at the mall, you can get robbed in your own front yard."

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