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When a chest is broken in Minecraft how is the location of the dropped items determined?

I've noticed in particular that if you place a block above a chest and then break the chest, it sometimes launches items far away rather than dropping the item at its feet like when there is no block above.

Further, if you surround a chest on all sides except one, fill it with some items, and then break it, it sometimes launches items through one of the solid sides.

For reference, I am using 1.10.

For context, I am trying to design a "cage" (https://imgur.com/a/DTiEj) around a chest for a particular multiplayer server I'm playing on that lets people trade items in their hand for items in the chest by punching it. So I want people to be able to see the chest, but if they break it I don't want them to be able to get what's inside without also having to break some obsidian. However, when I break the chest sometimes items appear outside of the cage rather than falling into the space below, which defeats the point of my defenses.

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    I edited your title to what it looks like your asking. – Rob Rose Nov 26 '17 at 3:40
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The initial position and velocity of the items are randomised and some of the items appear outside the chest.

Panda4994 made a video about this:

So I'm pretty sure you will have to leave air between the chest and the obsidian until this bug is fixed.

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