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Residents living around King’s Chapel Church on Quentin Road say that the U.S. Post Office has turned their mail route into the Homecrest proving grounds — and washout letter carriers are forcing them to hunt down their own letters and deliver errant parcels to neighbors.

The problem, according to angry residents, started about a year ago when Marlon English — their regular mailman — was called away to military service in Iraq.

Since then, they say a succession of incompetent couriers — all incapable of successfully completing their appointed rounds — have taken over, resulting in a problems ranging from undelivered mail to mail delivered very late in the day.

In one unnerving incident, sensitive bank statements belonging to an East 27th Street woman were mistakenly delivered to — and accidentally opened by — a neighbor,

“It was terrible,” said victim Pat Windorf. “I was so upset about the whole thing.”

Pastor Ron Weinbaum of King’s Chapel says the slipshod mail service has continued even though he’s complained about it to officials at the Homecrest Post Office on East 19th Street between Avenue W and Avenue X.

“I’m very concerned,” Weinbaum said. “We still continue to have problems. We never had trouble like this when Marlon was our letter carrier.”

The postal service says that it routinely breaks up routes or splits them between letter carriers when postal workers can’t perform their duties due to illness, vacation or military service — but that specific routes are not designated for the purposes of training new employees.

“We have a carrier academy where we train our employes,” spokeswoman Darlene Reid said.

Still, the Homecrest route does not have a dedicated letter carrier and must instead rely on letter carriers assigned to other routes to deliver the mail — after they’ve finished their first route.

Whatever the reason for the mishaps, residents are fed up and want better service.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to continue to have mail misdelievered,” Weinbaum said.

Postal spokeswoman Reid agreed.

“The assignment of a substitute on any portion of a delivery route is no substitute for good service and the mishandling of any mail is certainly unintentional,” she said. “We work in cooperation with our customers to eliminate such mistakes when these are brought to our attention.”

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