Cops seeking mail thief

Last updated: July 11, 2018 - 4:40pm

An opened package sits along a trail between Catherine Street and Park Place Village in Bloomsburg. (Press Enterprise/Julye Wemple)

BLOOMSBURG — A mailbox thief stole coins, scattered letters and dumped a box of medicine intended for a nearby resident recently, police say.

Harry English, 1203 Catherine St., received a call from police on Monday morning, saying mail he sent out was found in the field near his house. Police also found an empty box addressed to him along with the letters.

The mail he had placed in his box Saturday to be picked up contained checks, but those weren’t opened, English said. But the box contained coins he’d been expecting.

The tokens were aluminum and had little monetary value, he said.

“So, I told my son, ‘We should walk over and check the Dumpster,’” English recalled. “It would look valuable because it would look like a lot of coins, but as soon as they got a good look at what was in it, they’d toss it.”

The Dumpster sits at the end of 13th Street, on a dead end near the Park Place Apartments — a short walk from English’s Catherine Street home and the field where his mail was found.

They checked the Dumpster, but didn’t find the tokens. Then his son Isaiah spotted a pile of mattresses at the start of the trail that winds between the apartment building and Town Park Village along Route 487.

“He tipped one of the mattresses over and that’s when we found the package from Geisinger,” English said.

The priority mail package with refrigeration instructions was addressed to a resident at the apartment building and was unopened.

Bloomsburg Police Officer Ken Auchter said the box likely contained medicine, noting that insulin is often shipped through the mail and must be refrigerated. Although it wasn’t opened, the contents were probably unusable since the box was in the sun all morning, he added.

‘Going on for a long time’
English and his son then walked along the trail and discovered several older mail packages that had been opened and emptied.

There’s also the remnants of a homeless camp, including sleeping bags, clothing and food wrappers laid out in a small clearing, hidden along the trail.

English believes whoever was squatting in the woods was also stealing from nearby mailboxes.

“I think it’s been going on for a long time,” English said.

Although Monday’s mail theft was the first one reported in the area, it appears packages have been disappearing since at least December, according to Police Chief Roger Van Loan.

Officers tracked down a woman whose name is on one of the older boxes discovered along the trail. Several packages she ordered around Christmas never came, she told police. She assumed the error was on the shipping side, though, and got reimbursed from the company.

The trail, which is heavily traveled, is patrolled routinely, Van Loan said. An investigation into the thefts is ongoing.

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