Mail Theft Monday : 11/01/21 – 11/07/21
More mail theft covered in yet another #MailTheftMonday –
This week were covering crimes across our country, including burglaries, forgeries and of course anything and everything mail and identity theft. From west to east coasts, no one is safe from mail thefts – unless they have a MailBoss!
Ingleside woman accused of role in mail theft ring
by Kristin A. Siminak, Daily Herald – 11/03/21 – Lake County, IL
An Ingleside woman was charged with forgery and mail fraud after, authorities said, she and others stole mail and illegally cashed checks. Kristin A. Siminak, 34, of the 26000 block of West Lakeview Ave., was charged Tuesday with three felony counts of forgery and one felony count of mail fraud, the Lake County sheriff’s office said in a news release Wednesday.
According to investigators, Siminak is part of a mail theft ring where those involved would steal mail from mailboxes, chemically alter any checks they found and then have them cashed.
Antioch police arrested Siminak and one other person last Thursday in connection with the case, according to the news release. Sheriff’s deputies continue to investigate and could charge more people in the future, Covelli said.
To prevent being the victim of mail theft, Covelli said, residents should consider obtaining a mailbox that requires a lock and having their post office hold their mail when they are on a trip.
COMMENTS: Antioch Police investigators mentioned that Siminak is part of their local mail theft ring. Many residents do not understand why someone would want to steal their mail, they might even say: “Great, you can have all my junk mail!” But this kind of thinking is misinformed because every piece of personally identifying information that you receive in your mail can give thieves more information on you in the hopes that they can eventually open a credit card in your name, cash a fraudulent check, or rob your identity.
The Antioch police say that residents should obtain a secure locking mailbox, because they know that the more residents that can prevent mail theft at the source, the more free time they will have to work on violent and serious crimes. In essence, by purchasing a secure locking mailbox by MailBoss you will be freeing up time for your local police and making your community a safer place to live!
2 charged in multi-million-dollar mail theft conspiracy at Lubbock airport
by Gabriel Monte, Lubbock Avalanche Journal – 11/02/21 – Slaton, TX
A man and a woman from Slaton are facing federal charges in connection with a multi-million-dollar mail theft investigation. Joe Roy Rivas III, 22, and Jessica Lynn Solomon, 35, were indicted on Oct. 13 on a count of conspiracy to possess stolen mail and eight counts of possession of stolen mail. They face a punishment of up to 45 years in prison.
Authorities recovered more than 8,000 pieces of mail worth more than $4 million from Rivas and Solomon, who both worked at Cargo Force Solutions, a contractor that loads and unloads mail for U.S. Postal Service at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. Federal officials believe the two were involved in the largest seizure of stolen mail in Northern District of Texas history, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Investigators believe Rivas and Solomon stole the mail while working for Cargo Force Solutions and sifted through mail looking for items containing cash, gift cards, checks, and money orders, which they kept in 55-gallon trash bags found at their homes. Specifically, the indictment accused the two of stealing nine checks worth more than $2.3 million between Feb. 25-26. The checks they are accused of stealing include a $2 million check payable to Pershing LLC, a $25,728 check made payable to a telecom co-op, a $15,000 check to a consulting group, a $241,1863 check to a facilities management and food services company, according to court documents.
COMMENTS: Okay fine, not all forms of fraud, mail and identity theft can be stopped by a MailBoss… but this massive mail theft case highlights the severity of mail theft and it’s impacts on society at large. These criminals were able to launder and steal huge sums of mail from within the system, and had profound negative impacts on society. From gift cards and cash, to checks and money orders, they were able to steal over $2.3 million from the pockets of business owners and citizens across the United States.
Thieves Breaking Into West Philadelphia Mailboxes, Fraudulently Cashing Personal Checks For Thousands
by Matt Petrillo, CBS Philly, – 11/05/21 – Philadelphia, PA
Postal service mailboxes in West Philadelphia are being broken into and checks are being stolen, then being fraudulently cashed for thousands of dollars.
This really has officials scratching their heads. Eyewitness News spoke to neighbors, a council member, a state representative and even a postal inspection service and no one can say how thieves are getting into blue collection boxes and taking off with other people’s mail and personal checks.
‘I was just like really confused. I was like, Did I do some kind of math wrong?’ Michael Long said. Long recently put a roughly $40 check in a neighborhood Postal Service mailbox by his West Philadelphia home for his electric bill, trusting it would get to PECO. It never did. ‘One day, I logged into my bank account and saw that I had zero dollars because someone had taken my PECO check and forged the amount and changed the amount and changed it to $3,000,’ Long said.
Another man who didn’t want to give his name says two checks he put into a blue collection box were taken and fraudulently cashed, totaling about $8,000. ‘When it happened twice, I figured, well somebody must be stealing checks and writing them to other places,’ he said.
Several Postal Service mailboxes in and around the 19143 zip code in West Philly have been broken into over the past year, some multiple times. ‘Mail theft is a very serious issue,’ George Clark, with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said.
Eyewitness News asked Clark if there is any sense that these thefts are connected. He said he doesn’t know, but he did say people should trust the mailboxes and these types of thefts are rare.
‘The number of thefts out of blue boxes or out of any sources are exceedingly rare,’ Clark said.
‘This is eroding the trust our residents have in the Post Office, which is very concerning,’ Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said. ‘We want to see USPS treat this with the urgency it deserves.’ The Postal Inspection Service says oftentimes, people want to write checks to pay their bills on weekends, but when mail is placed into the blue collection boxes on Saturday evening or Sunday, mail often sits in them until it’s picked up on Monday. So, it’s best to hold off on putting mail in them if you can.
As for the victims that Eyewitness News spoke with, they say their banks reimbursed them the money. The USPS also encourages people to file complaints if fraudulent checks are made in their names.
COMMENTS: In yet another case of mail theft, these thieves won’t stop until they’ve gotten everything they want! Mail theft is occurring nationwide at an alarming rate, and while it’s a shame that this kind of theft is so rampant, it is also a necessity to take precautions to secure your mail and secure your identity. We recommend dropping important mail off directly at your local post office if possible. If that is not a possibility, make sure to drop it off before the collection time so that it doesn’t sit overnight in an accessible location.
Meadow Lake RCMP investigating vandalized mailboxes, mail theft
by meadowlakeNOW staff, meadowlakeNOW – 11/05/21 – Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, CA
Several reports of mailboxes being broken into has resulted in the Meadow Lake RCMP launching an investigation into the matter.
On Thursday, police announced they received numerous calls regarding damaged mailboxes containing stolen packages and letters.
COMMENTS: Here we see what is commonly referred to as a cluster box unit. These boxes are often surprisingly easy to break into and require so little effort for thieves to reap a huge reward! Since so much mail is contained behind one locking mechanism, thieves are willing to commit more time and effort into breaking into than they might normally be willing to commit to one individual locking curbside box. It doesn’t appear that this particular CBU was difficult to break into at all, either.
We typically recommend the use of individual and secure locking curbside boxes, rather than switching to CBU’s for this very reason. If your mail was recently stolen, consider making the switch to a locking curbside mailbox.
Some time Saturday night or early am Sunday our community mail box was broke into they distroyed it and took what ever mail that was in it. God knows what ever that will cost. And now we all have to get are mail at the post office
I had 2 checks altered last year. I remember putting them in a small postal box at a strip mall on a Sunday. Now maybe I didn’t get them all the way in and they blew out or I just missed the slot, but that’s not my point. One was changed from about $900 to $2900 and cashed. The other was cashed for its written value of about $600. The crazy thing was this. I had an on line scan of the front and back of the cancelled checks. Both were altered with what was obviously white-out. The $2900 one looked like a little kid had changed the payee and amount. Neither would have gotten past a real bank teller. However, both check backs showed that they were scanned into a cell phone and cashed with a mobile bank app.
So I am wondering if mobile check cashing isn’t a bigger threat than mail box theft. The AI doesn’t seem to be there to distinguish an alteration, no matter how poorly it is done. The check is never turned into a bank. The person scanning the check can shred it, or throw it into the wastebasket, or just leave it laying around. The only thing that keeps it from being cashed again is the check number. It seems to me mobile check cashing makes every check much more vulnerable.