Pasco County deputies looking for drop box check thieves

HUDSON, Fla. - Several residents at Harbor Oaks apartments in Hudson are dealing with the problems caused by whoever stole their rent payments.

Investigators say checks, money orders and money grams were somehow lifted out of the drop box outside the front office.

In the past thieves have used fishing wire with an adhesive to snag envelopes from drop boxes.

"I left it there thinking ok, perfect. I went to AMSCOT, I'm covered, I got it made out to them, I'm safe either way," said Harbor Oaks resident Georgios Bakomihalis.

Tenants were hit with late charges, and other bank fees as they tried to track down what happened. And some are under the impression they are still responsible for the rent, which runs between $600 and $800.

"I got a notice on my door saying I would be evicted I'm I didn't pay my rent, at which point I lost my head," said resident Jessica Edwards.

"I live paycheck to paycheck and I told them that. It's a struggle. I pay my bills on time, I've never been late on my rent. I pay my electric, pay my cable, car payment. You name it," said resident Michelle Palen.

The Pasco sheriff's office says similar thefts have happened elsewhere in the past. To avoid being victim, they recommend hand delivering your payment and getting a receipt.

Meanwhile Michelle and the others are waiting to hear back from investigators with the hope they aren't out all that money. She also has a message for whoever took the checks intended to pay rent.

"People need roofs over their head. Leave it alone."

Management at Harbor Oaks tell ABC Action News they are working with the sheriff's office and they insist tenants will not be charged again if their payment was stolen.

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