The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Have a PNC safe-deposit box? Maybe you should check it


Safe-deposit boxes are supposed to offer secure storage for valuables.

Plainfield's United National Bank was the bank of choice for most who banked in Plainfield when I first moved here in 1983. And the stairs down to the vault where the
safe-deposit boxes were located were both inviting and a little intimidating.

But one thing was for sure, you felt your precious items -- whether documents, jewelry or other valuables were above all SAFE. Safe from fire, flood, loss or theft.

Well, if you have a safe-deposit box at PNC, the large regional bank which bought out the locally-owned United National Bank a number of years ago, perhaps you had better rush over and check on it.

A faithful reader sent the following disturbing email Tuesday --

Hi Plainfield neighbors.  Many of you have been in this town forever and may have a safety deposit box at PNC downtown.
I'm writing to tell you that if you or anyone you knows has a safety deposit box at the PNC bank on Park Avenue & 2nd Street, you need to go inventory and check your contents, especially if you have not visited the box in a long time.
I have had my safety deposit box since 1988, when it was still United National Bank.  I rarely go there & most times when I do, it's at holiday time to get jewelry to wear at special events.   I just found out Friday that my jewelry was STOLEN from my box between the August/September timeframe (my last visit).  I don't visit the box often, and they have been clearing out the boxes and phasing them out.  That should have been a sign for me to find a new bank & transfer my articles. 
I would never have imagined that this could happen.  They stole the jewelry my mother, who died 26 years ago, left to me.  Most importantly was a diamond ring she had designed & made circa 1960 and contained one of my great grandmother's stones.  I am distraught and heart broken.  They even took the appraisal certificate.  I cannot replace this ever.  No amount of money could compensate me for this heirloom.
Still, noone should be able to get into the box as you need BOTH special keys.  However, you should see the state of affairs down there.  No formal notice has gone out to people.  The bank didn't even have the card that I sign each time I visit, so there was no history of my last or prior visits.  Why is that?  Where is it?  They couldn't even produce that sign-in card.  Bottom line, I have filed a police report and am taking other next steps.  Really - I just want that ring back.  They can keep the pearls & other items as I can replace those, but not this ring.  It's a one of a kind & it's sentimental.
Again, if you know of anyone with a safety deposit box, have them go there immediately and inventory their contents!  I guarantee you there will be others.
My mother would be in absolute shock.

She had had a safe-deposit box ever since I could remember, and firmly believed it was the best place -- bar none -- to keep her will, insurance policies, divorce decree, and heirloom jewelry.

When she knew she was dying of cancer, she arranged for me to be a co-owner of the box, which entailed filing a signature card and getting a copy of the key (which, with the bank's key, made the box seem even more secure) to keep.

She would not be able to grasp the thought that somehow someone was able to STEAL FROM A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX, given all the security measures.

But I guess it is a different world.

The reader's report on PNC's care -- or lack of it -- is distressing.

If you have a safe deposit box there, I suggest you heed the reader's advice and inventory its contents immediately.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Happened to me also...they lost all records I had a safety deposit box. I received it free with money market account did not go to box...was Civil war diary in my family for over 150 years. All the proof I had were the two keys for the box...the box had been drilled, no record of that and someone else has had the box since 2006/07 when the bank changed over from Coastal Federal to BB&T. Folks need to know that this sort of thing does happen

Anonymous said...

My Mom had a safety deposit box at Whitney National Bank in Gulfport, MS. that was empty after she passed away. The record on the box was tampered with as well. The record stated that my Mom NEVER went to the box and I know for a fact that simply is not true. When my brother went to open the box the key did not fit because they are switching the boxes and stealing the contents. One week after he paid to have the box drilled open, they said the locksmith would be there, then they changed that time to two weeks and then three, finally it was scheduled and then rescheduled once again. I have a list of papers and articles written by my Mom. Was PNC investigated for the missing contents of the boxes? I read where Banks are in trouble and are stealing safety deposit boxes.

anne cole said...

Thanks for sharing information about Safety deposti boxes.. keep writing
Anne Cole
safety deposit boxes