HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For months, residents of a neighborhood in northwest Harris County wasted hours endlessly going back and forth to the post office just to pick up their mail.
"The mailboxes were vandalized. Totally. I mean, with crowbars and the doors were wide open," Bob Braman told ABC13's Ted Oberg.
That was back in November 2020. Soon afterwards, Braman said he reached out to the homeowners association and then the U.S. Postal Service to see if someone could fix the broken cluster boxes, which had been vacant so long that a swarm of bees took them over.
While he waited for someone to take ownership and fix the mailbox, Braman and 28 other neighbors made the five-mile trip to stand outside a postal warehouse a couple times a week to wait in line and pick up their mail.
"It took forever," he said. "You could wait literally 45 minutes to an hour to get your mail."
After nearly nine months of trying and getting nowhere, Braman finally Turned to Ted.
"I worked on this until about June. Calling and writing and emailing and taking photos of it. Everything, and it was just going nowhere," Braman said. "I remember Marvin Zindler ... and I used to watch him and I always thought, 'this is a good Samaritan here, doing some really good work,' so I just reached out to Channel 13 and I asked for the investigative reporter."
We called the HOA and the post office and they gave us the same answers every time we asked about it.
An attorney for the Copperfield Community Association eventually shared a copy of a letter they sent to the post office in July.
The letter cites how the post office previously "maintained, repaired and replaced the cluster box units ("CBUs") distributed throughout Copperfield, establishing a clear course of performance and expectation on behalf of residential owners ... that USPS would continue to maintain, repair and replace the CBUs."
The letter cited six mailboxes in the Copperfield Southcreek subdivision that needed repairs, including Braman's.
When we reached out to the post office, they apologized for the inconvenience but said since they do not own the mailbox, their policy states they do not have to replace them when they're broken.
Multiple times, USPS said they would not replace Braman's mailbox.
"In this instance, local postal officials are aware of the matter and are continuing to work with all stakeholders, including residents and the HOA, to resolve those concerns promptly," according to a statement from USPS.
In response to the attorney for Braman's neighborhood, USPS said, "While we appreciate your advocacy on behalf of the Copperfield Community Association, the Houston District is once again confirming the Postal Service will not provide for the purchase, installation, maintenance, repair and replacement of mail receptacles."
Then, without telling us, the post office changed the locks on the old, busted mailbox and within two days, Braman said it was replaced with a brand new box.
We found out it was USPS who fixed, and later replaced, the boxes but the agency didn't tell us why the change in position.
Either way, Braman said he's looking forward to the time he'll save by not driving to the post office for his daily mail.
"It's nice that there are people that come along and have the gift of getting things done," Braman said.
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No mailbox fix from USPS until neighborhood Turns to Ted
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