AUGUSTA — Some 160 mailboxes normally locked were left open all Thursday afternoon, exposing their contents and causing concern among residents of a mobile home community on Sparrow Drive off Riverside Drive in Augusta.

Postal officials say there is no indication any mail is missing.

Marietta Morin, one of the Riverside Park residents, took several photos of the opened mailboxes and then called the U.S. Postmaster in Augusta with her concerns. “It’s not right,” she said.

Morin talked to an employee there and said that the mail was removed by postal employees later that evening.

Postmaster David Brannon previously had sent residents of 99 Sparrow Drive a notice saying the mailbox assignments would be changed between July 15-17; however, the addresses would not change, and customers could continue to use their individual locks.

“I’ve be here 30 years; the mailboxes have never, never been left open,” Morin said.

She said a number of her fellow park residents were mad about the open boxes, and she talked to another resident who stopped by the boxes to call his wife and ensure that she had already picked up their mail.

“Those are supposed to be locked mailboxes,” Morin said. “You could depend on them being locked.”

The mailboxes were locked again on Friday.

Stephen Doherty, communications specialist for the Northeast Area of the U.S. Postal Service, said via email Friday that the ownership group of the park is responsible for installing the 17 mailbox cluster units and assigning boxes to new residents.

“The boxes were originally assigned to residents as spaces were filled in the park,” Doherty said. “Locations were not filled sequentially. As a result, two side-by-side addresses in the park could have mailboxes in separate cluster units. That random assignment created confusion when a substitute carrier was delivering that route.”

Doherty said the postmaster talked with the park owners and worked out a plan to put the mailboxes in numerical order to match the addresses. “The goal was to reduce the possibility of mis-sorted mail while minimizing the impact to the residents.”

Doherty said the change was made Thursday. “While the majority of transitions went smoothly, there was some confusion on the part of a few customers and we apologize for that,” he said. “While this type of event is rare in our experience, we can learn from it and improve the level of communication leading up to the change going forward.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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