STOKES, PITT COUNTY -

A Pitt County post office has been closed indefinitely as deputies investigate who caused a gaping hole in the wall and damaged the safe inside.

According to a neighbor, the postmaster called 911 Wednesday morning after noticing the 3-foot hole at the back wall of the post office, located at 2817 Highway 903 in Stokes.

"[The hole is] definitely big enough, you can walk through it almost. Just kneel down a little bit and you're in, said Joe Cooper, who works next door.

Investigators said the person responsible used a hammer and a crow bar, and knew exactly where to break in. The safe was located right next to the hole.

The safe was not stolen, but was severely damaged, said Sheriff Neil Elks. He did not say if items inside the safe were stolen.

Meanwhile, Pitt County deputies are also investigating several other break-ins involving thieves busting holes through walls. In April, burglars smashed a hole through the wall of Express Food Mart in the Grimesland area, investigators said. Two safes were stolen.

In late March, thieves knocked two holes through a wall of Belvoir Corner Stop, off N.C. 33 West. Deputies said the burglars stole a safe filled with $40,000 in cash, checkbooks and credit cards.

NewsChannel 12 asked Sheirff Elks if the incidents are related.

"Well, they're similar in nature and not often do we have break-ins where people go in through the rear of the business and knock holes through the wall, Sheriff Elks said.