By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Mail thieves have been taking advantage of damaged mail drop boxes in San Jose to the apparent surprise of post office officials.

Hundreds customers use the post office’s two drive-by drop boxes at Robertsville Station in San Jose every day.

But a closer look shows both boxes’ mail slots are either badly bent, or broken.

“I dropped the mail in and then I thought, hey, that’s kind of weird,” said one customer who did not want to be identified. He said he dropped in some bills and his mortgage payment on a recent Sunday night.

Then he noticed how badly bent the mail slot was, so he decided to do a test.

“So, I put my arm in there and to my dismay, I felt mail,” he said. “But I just left it in there. What was I going to do? I didn’t want to touch anyone else’s mail.”

Five days later he received a call from Wells Fargo fraud: his $2,200 mortgage check had been stolen.

“I do not have any proof, but it’s not hard to connect the dots,” he said. “Clearly, an individual or individuals were able to access it, not by breaking it open, but by shoving their arms in there through the hole.”

Postal officials promised to look into it.

“I’m going to alert the postmaster and I’m going to alert the maintenance people as soon as we are done here and we are going to get it fixed as soon as possible,” said post office spokesman Gus Ruiz.

Although the bank took the loss on the forged check, the man who’s mail was stolen had to cancel his account and now has to worry about identity theft.

“I just want people out there to know that they can take corrective measures,” he said. “But hopefully also the post office can take corrective measures.”

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