Postal service

Police seek answers to latest spate of Postal Service mailbox check thefts, crime, USPS, Kettering, Oakwood, Beavercreek, business and cyber crimes

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Researchers say the thefts help fuel millions of dollars in cybercrimes. Checks stolen from mailboxes and sold online in October 2021 had a face value of $11.6 million, up $1.4 million from the previous month, according to a research group.

A study of online chat channels known to sell fraudulent documents found an average of 1,325 stolen checks were sold each week last October, more than double the same period in previous months, according to the research group. in Evidence-Based Cybersecurity from Georgia State University.

In Kettering earlier this year, someone “dropped more than one check in the mailbox. Both were stolen. Both have been changed and this woman loses $12,000,” Det. from police. said Vince Mason.

Mason said Kettering Police had filed 11 reports from businesses and individuals this year about stolen mailed checks from drop boxes at Stroop Road and Forrer Boulevard post offices.

Many were later changed to higher values, including $5,000, $12,800 and $20,000, he said.

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Oakwood has recorded 28 USPS drop box thefts since late December, with checks being the only items stolen, according to police.

No amount was released as the investigation is ongoing, Oakwood police said.

A mailbox check theft was reported to Beavercreek police this year, Capt. Shawn Sumner said. One person said they wrote a check for less than $1,000 and mailed it to the post office in January.

The check was later changed to over $1,000 when it was cashed, Sumner said. No suspects have been identified in any of the cases involving those three cities this year, officials said.

The latest local wave of letterbox thefts follows a string of similar crimes last year in Kettering that led to four indictments. Michael E. George, of Cincinnati, Craig A. Ross, of Dayton, and Brittany L. Kinder and Daniel L. Yates, both of Newport, Ky., all face charges, plea court records show. commons of Montgomery County.

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They are suspected of stealing and smuggling about 30 checks totaling about $100,000 last year, Mason said.

George, 64, and Ross, 29, are charged with forgery and theft, while Kinder, 30, and Yates, 26, face charges of theft and forgery, court records show.

The US Postal Service has not released requested totals for stolen or written checks nationwide for the past two years. However, in 2019, there were 2,881 reports of people illegally removing mail from collection boxes, NBC reported, citing Postal Inspection Service data obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Georgia State research group founder said in a published article that checks stolen from mailboxes and sold on the internet in October 2021 may have been bought for far more than the $11.6 million they represented at the origin.

“These values ​​likely represent a small fraction of the actual amount of money stolen from victims, as criminals often rewrite checks for much larger amounts,” David Maimon wrote in a January edition of The Conversation.

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The group’s study of chat channels known to sell fraudulent documents found that an average of 1,325 stolen checks were sold each week in October 2021, compared to 634 per week in September and 409 in August.

This same group’s week-long pilot study in October 2020 found 158 stolen checks.


USPS RECOMMENDATIONS

• Drop off mail in slots inside the post office, many of which have 24-hour lobby access. Customers can find opening hours online at https://tools.usps.com/find-location.

• Do not send cash.

• Victims of mailbox theft can report their case by phone 24 hours a day at 877-876-2455, or visit the Postal Inspection Service website, www.uspis.gov.