Mail Theft Monday – 12/27/10

Residents in Michigan City, Walkerton report missing mail
Herald Argus – 12/24/10

(LA PORTE, INDIANA) La Porte County Sheriffs were busy this Christmas, as a rash of mail theft hit Michigan City and Walkerton neighborhoods. One victim discovered a box of 500 checks had been stolen from the mailbox when the thief attempted to cash one of the checks in the amount of $900. Another victim learned her mailbox had been targeted when a neighbor found her mail discarded on the road. And yet another victim reported his mail stolen after he verified with the postal carrier that mail had in fact been delivered, yet there was none in his mailbox when he checked the mail. He noted that the mail must have been stolen between 9:30 and 10:30 am.

COMMENTS: Mail thieves are opportunistic and they are sometimes so brazen they follow the postal carrier to steal your sensitive documents. With the wealth of sensitive information that comes to your curbside mailbox, and the prevalence of mail-identity theft across the country, simply retrieving the mail promptly is not adequate. It is essential to protect yourself with a high quality locking mailbox. With a USPS approved locking mailbox like the Mail Boss, your mail remains guarded behind a locked door until you retrieve it with your unique key. The mail carrier deposits your mail via an incoming mail slot that is 1.9″ H – just large enough for a box of checks, but not large enough to allow for fishing, like many other locking mailboxes. In the La Porte area, you can find the Mail Boss security mailbox at all Kabelin Ace Hardware locations.

Mail theft in Old Lyme
WTNH 8 – 12/24/10

(LYME, CONNECTICUT) Several people in Lyme and Old Lyme Connecticut have reported mail missing. Some victims think “teenagers” may be the culprit, while others wonder if perhaps they are just getting fewer Christmas cards this year. While stealing mail is a federal offense, that is not stopping some crooks who may be after holiday money or gifts. Authorities are encouraging residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

COMMENTS: Teenagers are not likely responsible. Mailbox baseball – perhaps. Mail theft – no. Most likely, the culprits are opportunistic thieves looking for gift cards and checks, or methamphetamine addicts looking for sensitive information for identity theft. While some notice an increase in mail theft during the holidays, it is a serious problem across the nation all year long, and one that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late and your credit is beyond repair. To protect yourself, purchase a secure locked mailbox to prevent theft of incoming mail, and avoid sending checks from an unsecured mailbox. In addition, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them.

Coeur d’Alene Police nab Christmas card thief
Northwest Cable News – 12/24/10

CDA mail thief(COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO) Police arrested a man identified as Joseph O’Masters of Hayden Lake, after a concerned resident alerted authorities to a suspicious man rifling through mailboxes.

O’Masters was found in possession of 107 pieces of stolen holiday mail and presents from over 50 different homes across the Coeur d’Alene and Hayden areas. The value of the recovered stolen property is in excess of $1,275, in addition to numerous sentimental items including holiday cards, photos and letters.

COMMENTS: This time of year, it seems like residents are on the look out for suspicious activity, with the expected delivery of cards, packages and the like. As such, many of these opportunistic criminals are getting caught. However, more often than not, mail (and identity) theft goes unnoticed and unreported. And thieves do not just target mailboxes in December looking for cash and checks. Throughout the year, they can find a plethora of sensitive information for identity theft, which can be highly lucrative. To protect yourself, don’t leave your mail unprotected and unsecured for would-be identity thieves to steal. Secure your mailbox as you would your car or home with a high quality locking mechanism. Mail Boss locking mailboxes, available in both curbside and wall mount styles, can stop mail thieves, and can be found at your local Ace Hardware or True Value.

Las Cruces Area Teens Connected To Mail Theft And Vandalism Case
KRWG – 12/23/10

lascruces_stolenmail(LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO) After multiple reports of mailbox vandalism and mail theft, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department in Las Cruces have finally apprehended suspects. Police stopped a vehicle occupied by three 17-year-old juveniles who were in the possession of multiple pieces of mail that did not belong to them. The teens had targeted residents along Shalem Colony Trail, Rocky Acres, Chavez Road, Whispering Pines Court, Meadow Lane and Taylor Road, stealing mail and then vandalizing the mailboxes. Now, Sheriff’s deputies are sorting through the mail in an attempt to identify victims and return mail to their rightful owners.

COMMENTS: The most common perpetrators of mail are methamphetamine users looking to obtain sensitive information for identity theft, which then pays for their drug habit. It is rare for mail thieves to also vandalize mailboxes, because this simply draws more attention to an oft unnoticed crime. In this case, I would venture to guess that either these teens have a budding drug problem and are relatively new to the “M.O.” of mail thieves, or perhaps they were looking for quick Christmas cash and decided to vandalize the mailboxes to cover up their real motives. Regardless, for homeowners who are sick and tired of having their mail stolen or having to replace a mailbox that has fallen victim to a baseball bat, there is a solution. The baseball bat proof Mail Boss not only keeps vandals away, but also keeps your mail safe from thieves.

Father, Son Nab Floyd Mail Theft Suspect
My Fox Atlanta – 12/23/10

(FLOYD COUNTY, GEORGIA) A mail thief is behind bars after he stole from the wrong man. While prowling Floyd County neighborhoods for mail, Christmas cards, and the like, he was spotted by a boy who called his father, a police officer Byron McCarly. McCarly responded and was able to catch the suspect, removing one more mail thief from the streets.

COMMENTS: Thanks to this young man’s vigilance, there is one less mail thief on the streets. However, there are many more criminals out their rifling through mailboxes to obtain quick cash and checks or sensitive information for identity theft. To protect yourself from mail-identity theft, use a high security mailbox to keep incoming mail safe, pay  bills online or bring checks directly to the post office, and always shred sensitive documents before discarding them.

Potential mail thief cuts victim
Federal Way Crime Blotter – 12/23/10

(FEDERAL WAY, WASHINGTON)”Mailbox theft: At 8:13 p.m. Dec. 16 in the 30600 block of 3rd Avenue Southwest, a victim witnessed two suspects open his mailbox. He approached the suspects. One pulled out a knife and cut the victim on the hand.”

COMMENTS: Wow! Now that’s aggressive, even for a mail thief. Most of the time, these guys go unnoticed and the crime goes unreported. Obviously this criminal did not want to be caught. Rather than confront the criminal, prevent the crime… with a high quality locking mailbox like the Mail Boss. That way, your mail is safe from would-be identity thieves, and you don’t need to put your life at risk to safeguard your mail. In Federal Way, you can find the Mail Boss at Northshore Ace Hardware, New Lumber & Hardware, Walker Ace Hardware and Fred Meyer.

Mail thief targets mailboxes in Lyme and Old Lyme
The Day – 12/23/10

(OLD LYME, CONNECTICUT) “Old Lyme, Westbrook and state police are investigating the theft of mail and packages from residential mailboxes in the Lyme and Old Lyme areas, police said. The thefts began Tuesday, Old Lyme police said. Residents are asked to contact police immediately if they see any suspicious activity near any mailboxes in the two towns. […]”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is on the rise across the country. To protect yourself, use a high quality locking mailbox like the Mail Boss, available at your local Ace Hardware or True Value. In the Old Lyme area, you can find the Mail Boss locking mailbox at Saybrook Hardware Company, or use our Store Locator to find a dealer near you.

Woman suspected of stealing mail on eastern side of Spartanburg County
Conviction could mean five years in prison, $25,000 fine

Spartanburg Herald Journal – 12/23/10

(SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA) In Spartanburg County, where mail theft has been rampant in the last couple months, deputies arrested Teresa Grell on suspicion of stealing mail from area homes. Residents in the community tipped off investigators, who followed Grell until they were able to apprehend her. She is suspected to be involved with at least seven cases of mail theft involving forgery on the eastern side of Spartanburg County.

COMMENTS: This is the same woman who was arrested back in the beginning of December for mail theft and forgery. She was released on bond and apparently quickly returned to pilfering through residents’ mail for identity theft. The fact that she is now connected with at least seven counts of mail theft involving forgery is significant, since much of the time mail thieves are not able to obtain enough sensitive information to use their victim’s identity fraudulently. In Grell’s case, she was likely stealing mail from hundreds of people, or stealing mail from the same people very often. Regardless, now that she has been arrested, hopefully she will be held without bail, since she apparently cannot exercise self-control when it comes to feeding her habit.  Without doubt, though, there are many more criminals out there like Grell who would steal your mail for identity theft. That is why it is very important to protect yourself: (1) Use a high security mailbox like the MailBoss to guard incoming mail; (2) Never send sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox- bring it to the post office or use online bill pay; and (3) Always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mailbox) before discarding them.

Man reports stolen Christmas card to police
Telegraph Herald – 12/22/10

(DUBUQUE, IOWA) Mark Roberts of Dubuque Iowa reported a Christmas card stolen from his mail to the Dubuque Police Department. Officers responded to take the report, noting that even though the Christmas card was only worth about $4, they sometimes get reports of items of greater value such as checks stolen through the mail.

COMMENTS: It was right of Mr. Roberts to report this theft to the police department. Mail theft frequently goes unreported, and therefore many people mistakenly believe that their mail is safe and sound. The reality is mail theft is one of the most common ways that thieves obtain your sensitive information for identity theft. So, while in this case the thief may have just been looking for cash or gift cards, they frequently target your bank account statements, credit card offers and more to use for ID theft. If criminals get a hold of your ID, your in for a lot more than a few dollars; it takes hundreds of hours of your personal time to reconcile, and the damage to your credit can last for yours. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss to keep your mail safe from would-be identity thieves.

Kalamazoo Woman Could Face Charges Over Mail Theft
WKZO – 12/22/10

(KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN) A 27-year-old woman may face federal charges after being caught rifling through mailboxes in Kalamazoo. Police found her in possession of mail from at least 13 different residents, and say she was looking for checks, cash, gift cards, and so on. The U.S. Postal Inspectors are now handling the case.

COMMENTS: Authorities often state that criminals steal mail looking for cash and gift cards. While I’m sure thieves appreciate these “perks” they often have more nefarious goals – namely, identity theft. Your curbside mailbox contains a wealth of sensitive information, from bank statements to pre-approved credit card offers, that can be used to steal your identity. To protect yourself, use a high security curbside locking mailbox that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver.

Man accused of stealing from officer
Rome News-Tribune – 12/22/10

(ROME, GEORGIA) In Floyd County, a “Grinch” picked the wrong mailbox to pilfer last Monday. When Grant noticed a man going through their mailbox, he called his dad, Floyd County police investigator Byron McCarley. McCarley stopped what he was doing to pursue the mail thief, and a foot chase culminated with the apprehension of one Brandon Vines. Police found 16 pieces of mail in Vines’ truck, including a card with $20 intended for a young child, as well as sensitive documents such as utility bills. McCarley noted that most victims had not realize their mail had been stolen.

COMMENTS: Guess Brandon picked the wrong guy to steal mail from! Frequently victims don’t even realize when their mail has been stolen. If you suspect your mail has been stolen it’s important to put a fraud alert on your accounts so you can keep a look out for any unusual account activity. The best defense, though, is prevention. Get a high quality locking mailbox like the Mail Boss so your mail cannot be stolen. One less way for crooks to steal your identity!

Mail Thief Caught in Kzoo
Fox 17 – 12/21/10

(KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN) A woman was spotted driving from mailbox to mailbox stealing envelopes and packages on Skyler Drive in Kalamazoo. Police responded and pulled over the woman who was still in the area. They found her to be in possession of dozens of pieces of mail and packages that did not belong to her. She was subsequently arrested and the case was handed over to the US Postal Inspectors for prosecution.

COMMENTS: Thanks to the vigilance of alert residents there is one less mail thief prowling the neighborhood. You can’t always rely on thieves criminals being caught, however; in fact most mail theft goes unreported and even unnoticed. The best way to prevent mail theft is to use a high security locked mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or easily violated. MAIL BOSS keeps your mail and small packages safe until you are able to retrieve them with your own key.

Mail theft in Concord
Garnet Valley Press – 12/21/10

(CONCORD, PENNSYLVANIA) In Concord, residents are warned to be careful with their sensitive mail given a rash of mail theft in the area. A homeowner reported their mail stolen after it was found opened in the neighborhood. Police recommend promptly removing incoming mail and bringing outgoing mail to the local post office.

COMMENTS: In this case, the owner noticed his/her mail opened on the side of the road, and was therefore able to warn neighbors of the problem. However, in most instances of mail theft, the victims do not even realize their mail has been stolen.That is why vigilance is key to preventing Mail identity Theft. Since most all of us cannot collect our mail everyday promptly after it is delivered (and since some thieves are so brazen they follow the postal carrier stealing mail) it is best to use a high quality locked mailbox to protect your incoming mail.

Stolen Christmas cards found on bridge
The Destin Log – 12/21/10

(FORT WALTON BEACH, FLORIDA) The Fort Walton Beach Police Deport received a report of multiple pieces of mail torn open and lying on a bridge. Apparently, the mail included several Christmas cards stolen from a homeowner’s residential mailbox in Fort Walton Beach. Authorities said stolen mail is not an unusual crime, particularly during the holidays, and added that mail theft is rarely reported because it often goes unnoticed.

COMMENTS: Mail theft is highly common, but usually goes unnoticed. Criminals target your mailbox to steal more than just your Christmas cards. In your mailbox, they can find a wealth of information to use for identity theft, the fastest growing crime in the nation. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss. It can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver, and will keep your mail safe from would-be identity thieves.

Crime Watch (Dec. 23)
Gazette Times – 12/20/10

(CORVALLIS, OREGON) “Corvallis Police Department: IDENTITY AND MAIL THEFT: 9:39 a.m. 3800 block of Southwest West Hills Road. A 24-year-old man reported that his mail had been stolen from about Dec. 10 through Dec. 17, and he had received information from about three different credit card companies about accounts someone had opened in his name. […]”

COMMENTS: Thieves often target your mailbox to steal sensitive information for identity fraud. To protect yourself, use a high quality locking mailbox like the Mail Boss. It can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. In Corvallis, you can find the Mail Boss at Fred Meyer: 777 NW Kings Blvd. Or, to find a dealer near you, use our Store Locator.

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