SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Reports of exploding mailboxes have the attention of local and federal authorities. The incidents happened in Spartanburg County over the weekend, according to reports from the sheriff’s office.
“It was scary because it was really loud and it shook the house,” recalled Kimberly Blackwood. She said the sound jolted her family a little after midnight last Saturday and they called 9-1-1.
“We heard a really loud explosion,” she said. “We’re looking out the window and saw the smoke start to billow across the tree line into our yard.”
It happened next door at an empty home on Hanging Rock Road in Boiling Springs.
An incident report says on the way there, firemen thought that much smoke was from a structure fire. Firemen say the mailbox appeared to have been blown up leaving its post empty and pieces scattered.
“I was relieved that it was just the mailbox and not the house,” said Blackwood.
About a 15-minute drive from that location, parts of a mailbox were still hanging from a power line off Flatwood Road.
A man reported saying he heard an explosion last Friday night and noticed mailboxes in pieces the next morning. He called deputies on Monday, but due to “low manpower” on the road and high call volume, there were no deputies available to send out to investigate.
“Nobody messes with anybody, everybody minds their own business,” said neighbor Johnny Hostetler when describing the community. “It’s not right for nobody to destroy anybody’s property.”
There are stiff penalties for vandalizing a mailbox, according to the US Postal Inspection Service:
“Mailboxes are considered federal property, and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705), makes it a crime to vandalize them (or to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). Violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.”
“Especially in the world we live in today, there’s so much fear and things going on in the community and across the world, you wonder why someone would intentionally do something like that,” said Blackwood.
The sheriff’s office says anyone with information is asked to speak up.
A spokesman for the USPIS tells 7 News the cases are being investigated by the regional office in Greenville. Steve Stebbins said they do not believe there is a rash of cases, but that these are isolated incidents.