(September 17, 2014) ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) – When a local mailing company closed for business, it didn’t exactly close its doors; the doors were left unlocked and the staff was nowhere to be found.
A customer made the shocking discovery of packages and envelopes lying around, mailboxes unsecured; anyone could go in and scoop up someone’s mail. ABC 7 News arrived at the Alexandria Pak Mail store just as police officers did, and their response was one of disgust. A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service told ABC 7 News the agency is deeply concerned about this case and is investigating.
“You see all the packages? Does that entice you at all to come in here and take what you want?” asked Charlotte Prado, a longtime customer of the store, as she took ABC 7 News on a troubling tour of the unlocked, unstaffed mail service business. “When I came in, this was open, not locked. Anybody walking by can come in here and take everything they want.”
Boxes of packages and letters were in plain view of the strip mall’s busy sidewalk off of Manchester Boulevard. Normally, you need a key to get into a secure mailbox, but not on Tuesday.
“You can see everybody’s mail right there,” Prado said.
Just walk around the corner, and there is wide-open access to grab anyone’s personal mail.
“I figured they’re a business owner, they’d be a bit more responsible than that, because people entrust them with all this stuff, and they pay a fee for these mailboxes,” said customer David Seto. “That’s ridiculous.”
After Prado called ABC 7 News and Fairfax County Police, Pak Mail owner Brian Kim showed up. He told customers in a letter that the store was closing its doors on Saturday. He thought he was doing customers a service by leaving their mail out.
Kim: “We cleaned up yesterday and today. I just left the door open because we have mailbox access here.”
ABC 7 News’ Jay Korff: “It’s been all day that this door has been open and people have had access to these packages. Aren’t you concerned about that?”
Kim: “Of course I’m concerned about that, yes. That’s why I came and locked the door.”
Korff: “But you didn’t come until the authorities got in touch with you or somebody got in touch with you.”
Kim: “Sorry about that. I was kind of doing something else.”
Moments after Korff interviewed Kim, police stepped in, and soon after that, Kim closed up for good.
There is no indication that any mail was improperly taken while the store was left unlocked.
Kim told ABC 7 News he plans on mailing the leftover mail that is now locked up to each customer.