STIGLER, Okla. — With near 100-degree temperatures still heating our mid-September, some are already planning ahead to the holidays and holiday shopping.
If gift cards are in your plans, a warning from an older couple in Stigler could make you rethink it.
A family photo shows the last time Lola and Tom Fletcher were together with their granddaughter and great-grandkids who live in Alabama -- long before Covid, and long before last Christmas.
"That's the hardest part, we couldn't be together,” Lola says.
Lola and Tom were sorely disappointed last Christmas, when, in the name of safety, they couldn't be with them.
"They're all precious, they're all just sweet kids," Tom says.
"Papa and Nana" to the kids, did what they thought was the next best thing; Mailed the five of them $300 worth of gift cards, so they could find what they really wanted for Christmas.
"It's not like we could go down there and see and be around anybody, because we didn't want to expose them or ourselves, we're trying to stay safe.”
Somewhere between Stigler, Oklahoma and Foley, Alabama, the gifts were stolen.
After the envelope arrived ripped open and empty, the Fletchers and their granddaughter filed a complaint with police and the post office and found out someone had spent at least one of the gift cards in Memphis.
"We were really upset because these were Christmas gifts for our grandkids and some great-grandchildren."
Christmas came and went for them, with nothing from Nana and Papa.
"It's heartbreaking, it's heartbreaking,” Lola and Tom say. "I felt so sorry for the kids, they were so far away."
After filing their complaint, the post office told them they don't replace gift cards, even though the Fletchers insured the envelope.
All they got back, was the $15 insurance fee.
The Fletchers and their granddaughter say they believe "the Postal Service needs to replace the stolen cards and prosecute the thieves for committing a federal offense."
The Fletchers say they want to warn others.
The 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers contacted the Postal Inspector who said they "don't comment on potential investigations," but "the Office of Inspector General is aware of this incident and will continue to review the situation."
"It's frustrating," Tom says.
To relieve any possible frustration this year, the Fletchers might give their great-grandkids a Christmas surprise.
"We might just go see them, I just might take their gifts to them."
If the pandemic once again changes those plans, the Fletchers say they'll overnight gift cards using another shipping company.
They say they may consider sending electronic gift cards, where there'd be fewer worries about another incident.
As soon as you suspect a card may be stolen, quickly go to the issuer and try to stop payment.
To do that, experts suggest you keep the card's activation receipt after buying it.
Write down the gift card number which you'll need to possibly stop payment.
Once a thief has used a gift card, there's generally nothing that can be done.
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