Broken mailboxes: 'We just want them to get it fixed'

Broken mailboxes: 'We just want them to get it fixed' »Play Video

ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - They want their letters and even their bills.

Some Arvin neighbors said Friday that they are frustrated after waiting weeks for their community mailboxes to be repaired.

U.S. Postal Service officials told Eyewitness News this box is taking longer to fix than usual, because they have to order a whole new door for it.

"They've been broken in, and tampered with," Maria Ortiz said, describing the boxes that sit next to the sidewalk in her area. "The situation is our neighbors are complaining because they have to go to the post office every day or every other day to get their mail."

She's serving as a spokeswoman for the dozen families who use the group mailboxes on Walker Street. The front of the unit is damaged, with a door hanging open.

"It's not secure to put mail and there, and they can just still open it," Ortiz said.

The box is also covered with lots of graffiti.

Obviously, neighbors don't want their mail put into a box that won't lock, but they want to know when it will be fixed.

"We're not getting any answers," Ortiz said.

Neighbors went to the post office in Arvin to ask about repairs.

"She just informed me that they're going to try to, but she didn't give me (anything) exact, just 'it takes time,'" Ortiz said.

At this point, these neighbors have to pick up their mail at the Arvin Post Office, but it's a ways across town.

"It's frustrating, because some of (the neighbors) come out of work late and the post office closes at 4," she said.

Eyewitness News was referred to a Postal Service spokesman in San Francisco.

"We're working very hard to get the box replaced," James Wigdel said by phone on Friday. "Normally, when a box is vandalized we can simply go out and make some repairs. But, in this case, we have to order a whole new door."

Wigdel said that door has been ordered, and it would be installed as soon as possible. He couldn't give a firm date.

Postal officials said their records show the community mailbox on Walker Street was damaged more than a month ago. Wigdel said they currently have another similar box in Arvin that's also damaged.

Wigdel couldn't say whether the damage was only a case of vandalism, or an attempt to steal mail. Kern County and other areas of the country have been hit with a recent spike it mail theft.

To protect their mail, the Postal Service recommends customers take outgoing mail to the post office or put it in a blue box. To safeguard incoming mail, they suggest picking it up from your mail box as quickly as possible.

The Arvin neighbors just want their mailboxes available again.

"We apologize for the inconvenience," Wigdel responded. "But, we want to make sure that the box is in good shape before we start putting mail back in it."