Mail Theft Monday – 6/28/10

Police Chase Down Suspected Mail Thieves; Two Arrested
San Diego 6 – 6/24/10

(SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA) “A man and woman wanted on suspicion of stealing mail on several prior occasions led police on a brief road chase through Carmel Valley Thursday before getting into a crash and making a failed attempt to escape on foot.

An officer spotted a blue Ford Ranger involved in the postal thefts near State Route 56 and tried to pull it over about 11:45 a.m., according to San Diego police.

The young woman behind the wheel refused to yield and sped off through the neighborhood as officers gave chase, SDPD Sgt. Ray Battrick said.

A few minutes later, the truck careened off the roadway in the 11700 block of Carmel Creek Road and smashed into three parked vehicles before screeching to a halt. The two occupants then jumped out and ran off but were soon apprehended, Battrick said.

Richard Crisostomo, 35, and Dezirae Hamon, 19, were booked into county jail on suspicion of various charges, including mail theft and evading police.

Police tell San Diego 6 News it appears the woman would drive to mail boxes and her accomplice would grab mail.

The woman was treated for minor injuries.”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is a huge problem across the country. Most of it is fueled by methamphetamine addicts. Homeowners need to protect themselves from mail identity theft.

  1. Use a high security locking mailbox to secure incoming mail. Find the Mail Boss at your local Ace Hardware or True Value.
  2. Never send outgoing mail from an unsecured mailbox. Bring it to the post office or better  yet, use online bill pay.
  3. Shred all documents before discarding (most of what you shred comes in your mailbox).

Authorities Investigating 180 Cases of Stolen Mail in Putnam County
WOWK TV – 6/23/10

(CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA) “Postal inspectors and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department are investigating 180 cases of stolen mail.

A spokesperson for the Postal Service says it happened on one route in one day this week and mail was spread all over the roadway.

Unconfirmed reports say that postal route is Poca River Road. Authorities believe the missing mail incidents have stopped.”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is a very serious growing problem across the country. Thieves often steal your mail looking for sensitive mail and checks they can use for IDENTITY THEFT. People need to use a security locking mailbox to protect themselves and their good name.

Victims in this case were LUCKY because the thieves left mail strewn across the road, so at least people KNEW their mail had been stolen and could take the necessary steps to alert banks, credit unions, etc. MOST people aren’t so lucky. Most people don’t know when their mail has been stolen. That’s why it’s so important to use a high security locking mailbox.

The Mail Boss is made of 12- and 14-gauge steel and cannot be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. In the Charleston area, you can find the Mail Boss at Green’s Feed and Seed in Charleston or at Smith’s True Value in Big Chimney. Mail Boss – a locking mailbox that gives you peace of mind!

Cedar woman arrested in St. George check fraud case
The Spectrum– 6/23/10

(ST. GEORGE, UTAH) “A Cedar City woman was arrested Tuesday after St. George Police
investigators identified her as a suspect in a check fraud case.

The investigation division was contacted by State Bank of Southern Utah after account holders there reported checks had been cashed in their name but they had not authorized them, Police Information Officer Johnny Heppler said.

Kathrine Marie Hansen, 29, 631 S. Morningside Circle, Cedar City, was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges of theft, three counts of forgery, three counts of mail theft and methamphetamine possession as a result of the investigation.

Heppler said Hansen allegedly gained access to the checks through mail theft and the checks were then allegedly altered fraudulently by her.

“Exactly how she obtained the checks (from the mail) is still under investigation,” Heppler said.

“When they (detectives) arrested Kathrine they obtained a search warrant. During the search, detectives located suspected methamphetamine and other drug-related paraphernalia,” he said. Hansen was booked on $33,700 bail.”

COMMENTS: Check fraud often is initiated via mail theft. It is as simple as taking an bill payment from the outgoing mail and washing it, or taking a bank courtesy check from the incoming mail. It’s not rocket science. When sending checks, you should bring them directly to the post office and always use gel ink to prevent washing. More importantly, however, you should secure your incoming mail with a high security mailbox like the Mail Boss. Finally, it is no big surprise that methamphetamine was found on the mail thief. Like we always say, Mail theft and meth go hand in hand!

Residents report stolen, altered checks
The Hour – 6/20/10

(WILTON, CONNECTICUT) “The missing and altered check incidents at the Wilton post office have slowed to a halt, according to police.

It has been roughly one week since a resident has reported a check they sent through the post office missing or altered, said Lt. Donald Wakeman of the Wilton Police Department.

On Tuesday, Wakeman said a total of 48 Wilton residents reported checks missing or altered since late March. The last reported incident came in on Thursday of last week, he said.

“Reports from residents have slowed down, which is a sign that theft of mail in Wilton has  discontinued,” Wakeman said.

Wakeman said there are 37 residents who reported their checks had been altered after sending them through the post office, with the checks totaling approximately $87,000. And 11 residents reported that their checks had been stolen, with the checks totaling around $29,000, he said.

The altered checks have been made out to persons with Asian names, Wakeman said, and “each check does not have the same name.”

Investigation has also revealed that a similar type of case has occurred in several states located in the Northeast, Wakeman has said.

A few weeks ago, Wakeman had said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bridgeport began investigating the case.

“We are now an assistance agency to this case,” he said at the time. “We are still going to be doing the same amount of investigation we did before and are still taking victims’ statements. We are just getting help from the U.S. Attorney’s Office now.”

According to Wakeman, there are no suspects in the case.

“We are still working daily with the Postal Inspectors Office,” Wakeman said. “Officers are doing a lot of legwork with this case and it remains ongoing at this point.””

COMMENTS: Just because residents are no longer reporting mail theft does not mean it has discontinued. Mail theft often goes unnoticed because residents don’t always know what they are expecting in the mail. Often thieves will target the same mailboxes repeatedly until they glean enough information to use for identity theft. They may have taken checks last week and try to take bank statements next week and utility bills the following, until they can open an entire line of credit under your name with a different address. That’s how it works.

Vigilance is key, which includes the use of a locked mailbox to secure incoming mail. Check out the Mail Boss at your local hardware store to get mail security and peace of mind at an affordable price.

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