The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General is investigating a number of reports of cash and gift cards being stolen from people's mail throughout Long Island and New Jersey.
Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne spoke exclusively with nearly a dozen people who told her their mail had been tampered with in recent months.
Nancy Burtchell, of Huntington, said someone stole birthday money meant for her 13-year-old son. The envelope was sliced clean open.
"He was very disappointed," Burtchell said. "My youngest son cried."
Eyewitness News uncovered reports of missing cash and gift cards from USPS mail in Melville, Huntington, Centerport, Northport, Smithtown, Greenlawn, West Islip, Lake Ronkonkoma and even Rutherford, New Jersey.
James and Stephanie Malloy of Rutherford said someone stole about $15 in cash, meant for their young children, from relatives for Valentine's Day. They said it looked like someone sliced the envelopes open with a razor.
Matthew Modafferi with the OIG confirmed to Eyewitness News that the agency has received complaints from residents living in the areas mentioned above. He wouldn't say how many complaints have been received.
"All allegations received by the USPS OIG are vigorously investigated and prosecution is pursued on the federal, state and local levels," Modafferi said.
He said people should never send cash in the mail. If you're sending a gift card, he said, you should keep the receipt from the gift card transaction and a copy of the gift card and PIN.
To report a theft or tampering of your mail contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, visit the USPS OIG website or call their hotline at at 1-888-USPS-OIG.
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Exclusive: Cash, gift cards stolen from USPS mail across LI, NJ