MELVINDALE — Police officers recovered hundreds, if not thousands, of income tax returns and medical records out of a pair of paper recycling bins Wednesday afternoon.
The records were discovered at about 1 p.m. by an Allen Park resident who was disposing of old newspapers into the bins behind St. Mary Magdalena Catholic Church, 19624 Wood St., near Allen Road and Outer Drive.
The man saw hundreds of manila file folders in the bin he was using.
He said he looked at one of the files and saw it was a tax return. He looked at several more and all of them were tax returns belonging to different people.
The man then called The News-Herald Newspapers, which notified police.
When Officer Robert Kennaley arrived at the church, he climbed into the bin for better access to the files. While he was going through them, he discovered several boxes of medical records and multiple blank checks.
Kennaley and Detective Nick Martinez each said they were not sure if dumping the records was a crime.
They agreed that leaving the documents was irresponsible because many of them have home addresses, Social Security numbers and other private information. Some of the files even contained credit card statements.
The files were from people who live all over the state, not just in southeastern Michigan. Most of the documents were from 2002 to 2011.Whoever prepared them did not include their own name on the files.
Both squad cars that were at the church had the back seats and trunks filled with boxes as the documents were hauled away.
The officers were unsure if there would be a formal investigation or if the documents would be properly destroyed.