Exclusive: Hundreds of private documents found scattered across Grays Ferry

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) —
Hundreds of sensitive court documents were found Tuesday across several streets in the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia.

The information on them could put hundreds of people at risk.

Resident Basym Hasan says he spotted the papers scattered across his neighborhood at 29th and Wharton streets.

He turned them over and spotted documents from The Philadelphia Courts.

The papers were filled with names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, and signatures.

“People always complain about stolen identity, you don’t have to steal identity when identity is floating up and down the street. If you wait long enough you can just scoop it up,” Hasan said.

Action News followed the paper trail which led us two blocks down to busy Grays Ferry Avenue. There we saw a steady stream of trash trucks from the Philadelphia Streets Department.

They were all dumping at the nearby Blue Mountain Recycling Center.

The streets department says it’s investigating to see if the documents fell off a truck, but it’s not responsible for redacting or shredding sensitive information.

It appears the paperwork came from the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department at 1401 Arch.

Patrick Austin, a supervisor listed on several of the discarded emails, told us he couldn’t comment on trashing procedures and he contacted his boss.

“You have to shred personal information. You know I have no idea how it got here,” resident Darren Irby said.

Meanwhile, the streets department didn’t waste any time after our call and sent crews to clean up the documents.

“It can be embarrassing for the city in a variety of ways to have such information just floating around,” Hasan said.

A manager for that Blue Mountain Recycling Center told us even with the strong winds, the documents couldn’t have come from his landfill because of how they handle the trash.

We contacted the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department once again Tuesday night, but still received no response.

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