Mail Theft Monday – 11/23/09

Phenix city pair sentenced for Enterprise mail theft
Dothan Eagle – 11/22/09

(PHENIX CITY, ALABAMA) “A federal judge sentenced a Phenix City pair last week to serve three months in prison for stealing mail from a mailbox in Enterprise. Federal court records show both [Crews] and [Gordon] were sentenced on Friday to the three-month term in federal prison. […] A spokesperson for the U.S.Attorney’s Office has said the pair was charged with stealing mail from at least one mailbox in January 2006 in Enterprise. Goss said the theft involved first-class mail and that they pleaded guilty to altering and cashing stolen checks worth about $4,000.”

Holidays a tempting time for mail thieves
The Press-Enterprise – 11/22/09

(RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA) “[…] The U.S. Postal Service reports that mail theft increases during the holidays, due to many an envelope containing a check or money order meant as a gift or to packages containing merchandise that could be fenced. “Mail theft is a federal crime,” warned [a postal inspector] and spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspectors, a crime-fighting unit of the U.S.P.S. [She] said anyone convicted of mail theft could receive up to five years in a federal prison for each piece of mail they are convicted of stealing […].

“One of the things we notice happens around the holidays is that these crooks will drive around looking for packages left on porches,” she said. “If you’re expecting a package, make arrangements to have it picked up by someone you know and trust.” Wanda Vaughn, a resident of Valley Hermosa, a 55-and-older retirement community in Hemet, said she recently had her mail pilfered. “I put three bills – money orders – in my mailbox last month,” Vaughn said. “I got ready to pay my bills this month and found out the companies never received last month’s payments.” She said a neighbor was expecting a check that she never received, and someone across the street also had their mail tampered with. […]”

North Pole man sentenced to prison for mail thefts
Daily News-Miner – 11/21/09

(FAIRBANKS, ALASKA) “A North Pole man who told police he traded methamphetamine for a shotgun and other people’s mail is serving a five-year prison sentence. [Cesani], 30, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of second-degree forgery as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. […] Cesani is believed to have been part of a group of about 10 people who targeted mailboxes in the outlying areas of Fairbanks to steal checks and credit cards. Cesani had eight stolen credit cards on him when he was arrested last December, an event which led to the eventual break up of the mail theft ring. Cesani’s […] attorney […] blamed Cesani’s actions on meth addiction.

Local law enforcement agencies received more than 700 reports of mail theft or tampering between September and December 2008. Cases ranged in severity from displaced mail being found at the side of the road to stolen checks and credit cards being used to purchase thousands of dollars worth of items from local businesses. Authorities estimated losses in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. Drugs, specifically methamphetamine, were the main motive for the thefts. […]”

3 allegedly stole checks in mail
Tampa Bay Online – 11/21/09

(TAMPA, FLORIDA) “Three people have been indicted on federal charges, accused of stealing checks from Pasco County mailboxes and forging names to cash them. […] [Phillips], 32, [Jolley], 31, and [Santilli], 29, all are charged with conspiracy to break open mailboxes and steal mail between Aug. 18 and Sept. 5, 2008. […] The three are accused of opening the mail; taking checks, cash or money orders; and destroying what they couldn’t use. They used acetone to chemically remove the recipients’ names from the checks and replaced them with their own names or the names of others, the indictment states. […] The three are accused of […] stealing more than 50 pieces of mail. The indictment alleges that they received more than $3,000 from stolen and forged money orders.”

Mail found stashed in dryer vents
Chico Enterprise Record – 11/18/09

(CHICO, CALIFORNIA) “Police are trying to determine why several pieces of mail were stuffed into a venting system at condominiums on St. Francis Drive. Residents reported having trouble with dryer vents not working properly on Monday. When they checked the vents, various items including pieces of mail and credit cards were found stuffed inside. Police conducted a probation search on a tenant at the complex Monday. The resident wasn’t home at the time, but officers allegedly found mail that belonged to a neighbor. The incident remains under investigation, and no arrests have been made. […] It was unknown Tuesday night if the allegedly stolen mail has been used to commit identity theft.”

Man convicted of mail theft handed four-year sentence
San Francisco Examiner – 11/17/09

(SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA) “A San Francisco man was sentenced Tuesday to four years in state prison for a mail and identity theft scheme that prosecutors said targeted more than 1,000 residents. [Williams], 31, was arrested in February by U.S. Secret Service and [U.S.P.I.S.] agents during a surveillance operation. Williams was seen taking mail from residential mailboxes in the Hayes Valley neighborhood […]. […] Prosecutors said Williams and two accomplices conspired to steal mail and cash checks found in the stolen mail. Authorities later found 1,874 pieces of stolen mail belonging to 1,111 people in his home. Williams pleaded guilty in San Francisco Superior Court on Sept. 2 to four felony counts, including identity theft and possession of stolen property. […]”

San Francisco man sentenced to prison for large-scale mail theft scheme
ABC KGO – 11/17/09

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