The Columbus Police Department warns the community to be alert and cautious before leaving your bill payments in your mailbox.
Detectives confirm to News 3 what appears to be a ring of thieves have been making their way across Muscogee and Harris Counties and stealing checks from unattended mailboxes.
“It’s a group of friends or individuals that hang out together that’s associates. They’re going around just checking, riding, joyriding in neighborhoods looking at mailboxes and if they see a flag up, they’re stopping,” says Sgt. Wendy Thornton with the CPD Financial Crimes Unit.
“People say, well I put [the checks] in this morning and I left for work, and then within the day the checks have been washed and cashed at a bank here in Columbus.”
Sgt. Thornton says the checks which in some cases started as low as $15 end up as over $1400 in the culprit’s pockets. She advises all residents to bring their checks directly to the post office, use a P.O. box, or wait to watch your mail carrier pick up your payments.
She also adds fingerprints, witness accounts, and other evidence suggests up to five individuals may be involved and will be arrested when the cases can be linked. If you believe you see someone suspicious in your neighborhood or lurking near your or a neighbor’s mailbox, call police immediately.