By Kurtis Ming

ORANGEVALE (CBS13) – A woman says her bank let her safe deposit box vanish. And she’s not the only one.

Susan Nomi says when she went to open her Bank of America safe deposit box of 16 years, the entire box was gone.

That’s where she kept her family’s jewelry and her dad’s coin collection.

“I was in shock; I was just like what happened to my box,” said Nomi.

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She says Bank of America can’t explain where her valuables went.

“They don’t have an answer. They don’t have an answer. They say thanks for letting us know,” she says.

Nomi was infuriated, especially considering she is a retired Bank of America employee of 40 years. And she’s not alone. Others have complained that Bank of America drilled their safe deposit boxes without permission or notice.

Wendy Woo says her belongings were taken out of her safe deposit box and shipped to her.

“Everything was dumped in a plastic bag,” said Woo.

She says a ring was missing a stone and a necklace was damaged in the process.

“Safe deposit box….that’s what it’s for, safe,” she said.

Another family reported getting their safe deposit contents shipped back too, but claim $17,000 in jewelry was missing.

Then another woman who just wants to be identified as Maggie says, “I just got robbed from the bank.” “They just took my stuff,” she exclaimed.

Federal rules say banks can drill a box without permission only when there is a court order, search warrant, delinquent rental fees, requests from estate administrators, or if the bank is closing a branch.

However, none of those reasons applies to any of these cases. Safe deposit box consultant Dave Guinn trains bank employees on proper safe deposit box procedures. He says federal law requires that banks give customers adequate notice.

“A notification should be made either by registered letter or by certified receipt letter,” said Guinn.

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Bank of America has said it does “…notify customers by mail in accordance with law well in advance prior to drilling a box.”

Nomi’s not buying it and says, “I worked for them. It’s not like they couldn’t get a hold of me or anything.”

Bank of America still can’t explain what happened to her valuables but said, “We certainly understand how frustrating this matter is for Mrs. Nomi and we are working with her on a resolution. We are looking at this situation to help us identify opportunities to help avoid similar events in the future as we continue to work on improving service to our customers.”

She says, “I can’t ever replace it. It’s irreplaceable, doesn’t matter how much its worth.”

After we got involved, she told us the bank agreed to cut her a check.

The Bank of America also paid to fix Mrs. Woo’s damaged jewelry but left each of them wondering how safe a safe deposit box is.

Nomi has advice for others: “Check what’s in your box,” and “If you haven’t been in it for a while, make sure it’s there.”

The Bank of America rental agreement says they could terminate your rental agreement for your safe deposit box if you don’t give proper identification when requested. The customers in these incidents say that does not apply to their cases.

Banks have strict regulations they must follow, one being they have to have two keys to get into a box, yours and theirs. Plus, if a box has been drilled open, the bank must have a record of it being drilled.

If this has happened to you or someone you know, click here to file a complaint.

Comments (36)
  1. Guess who?… It’s Bank of America. And you thought they were your friend?… NOT.

    1. Bank of America is circling the drain.

      1. Greg San says:

        Still better than Wells Fargo… Isolated thefts happen. Wells Fargo was systemic institutional fraud on all levels, in all departments.

  2. Delinquent rental fees! Enough said. Deadbeats lose their stuff. They expected free storage after they changed address and vanished?.

    1. Tom Jones says:

      This was probably a diversity hire, who embezzled those safety deposit boxes. The bank just cut their loses and covered it up.

    2. Alison Milne says:

      Did you even read the article? Nothing is said of “delinquent rental fees” and Bank of America admits they don’t know where the boxes are. If it was delinquent rental fees Bank of America would have responded with that statement. Sounds like a bank employee on the local level drilled into boxes and stole what was valuable.

      1. Uh yes the article does mention delinquent rental fees. It’s right there in the middle of the article, written with a blue link. Did YOU read the article?

    3. George Black says:

      “Federal rules say banks can drill a box without permission only when there is a court order, search warrant, delinquent rental fees, requests from estate administrators, or if the bank is closing a branch.

      However, none of those reasons applies to any of these cases. Safe deposit box consultant Dave Guinn trains bank employees on proper safe deposit box procedures. He says federal law requires that banks give customers adequate notice.”

      They weren’t delinquent. The very next sentence says so.

  3. tomkay1012 says:

    B of A, it should be renamed Bank of Mexico. Why this happened seems to be a mystery and my guess is they want or could get more fees for the same box if they could ‘evict’ the current occupant. As for the missing/damaged property, prove it. Have a nice day.

  4. Tom M Ward says:

    Whew! I don’t own a safe deposit BAX so I am relieved.

  5. hitrestart1 says:

    Aaaaannd THIS is why you don’t leave your valuables with banksters.

  6. They are the Bank of Non-American Citizens. The banks are testing us. They are prodding us. They are antagonizing us on purpose… They will confiscate our money when the next ‘2008’ hits and it is past due. It is a 7 year cycle for major busts, and we are 3 years deeper into the pressure than should be.

  7. Tony Mah says:

    Boxes are not insured I take it?

  8. If you must use a bank use only a local one. Credit union is a much better choice.

  9. Steve Hollar says:

    What I find disgusting is BofAs cavalier reaction. “Gee, so sorry, we’ll do better next time”.

  10. snailmailtrucker says:

    It’s Bank of America….not surprised one tiny bit !

  11. Years ago I once temped at an L.A. BofA in the division that dealt with paying employees of trusts (the folks who maintain the property of dead people until probate is over, I believe). Anyway, this temp job RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. BofA had NOT paid the various trust employees their rightfully-earned wages. These people were lower-paid people without any pillows. Not being paid was a financial disaster for them. Some were calling on the phone, SOBBING because they had no money, little food, hadn’t yet bought Christmas presents for their kids (two days before CHristmas). SOBBING! I felt horrible for them.

    I was instructed to put them off, get rid of them as best I could. that seemed to be the reason I was temp-hired. Morale among the regulars was in the toilet. No one cared about the poor schmucks who hadn’t gotten the money they had earned. I would NEVER have dealings with BofA! NEVER!!

  12. Steven Bowen says:

    Shut up Doug, you stupid idiot. BOFA is a TERRIBLE bank on every level, especially customer service. This criminal behavior does not surprise me at all. The government allows these banks to become huge, powerful corporations who run roughshod over their own customers who are typically to stupid or apathetic to care, and destroy national economies as a bonus. Anyone remember the real estate crisis?

  13. Bill Snyder says:

    SUE, SUE, AND SUE AGAIN.

  14. Mike Gilmer says:

    Burying your valuables in a water proof box in a secret location is much safer than trusting a bank with your stuff.

  15. It’s Bank of America, they probably pilfered the goods to pay illegals to open new accounts.

  16. mnc77024 says:

    Someone’s gonna get fired.

  17. Bank of America was involved with Merrill Lynch several years ago and committed FRAUD! Has everyone forgotten this? Seems Bank of America just can’t get it’s act together….STILL!!
    But then, why am I surprised?

  18. Dan Roth says:

    This is disgusting. Almost as bad as the cops going around and seizing cash from people not involved in crime so they can forfeit it. We are expanding the Nazi principles to our institutions very rapidly now. We better stop it before it gets carried away.

  19. James Kent says:

    You think that’s bad, Ask them one day where your money actually is. Your money is nothing more than a record in an accounting database. The actual money has been placed on a bet , by the bank, in a financial casino (called financial markets). They win, they get a big payday. They lose you lose.

  20. This has been going on for the last ten years, at least. Especially in California. The state has authorized the legal stealing of safe deposit boxes for the sake of getting more revenue. I TELL EVERYONE ***DO NOT TRUST A SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX*** ever!!!

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