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Thieves stealing outgoing mail, checks worth thousands of dollars

By Madeleine Wright

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    RADNOR TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (KYW) — Frustration on the Main Line. Someone is repeatedly stealing mail from mailboxes.

Police say last year someone was able to steal mail out of a blue collection box using a key to unlock the storage compartment.

Now thieves are driving around neighborhoods targeting streetside mailboxes with red flags raised and stealing their outgoing mail, which sometimes includes checks worth thousands of dollars.

Sue McKelvey-Goggins’ sense of security is shattered ever since someone stole three outgoing checks from her mailbox on Watch Hill Road in Villanova.

“We’re in a very nice neighborhood. We live in a cul-de-sac. It feels very safe, so in a way it makes you feel not safe to have someone come and commit a crime,” she said.

One of the stolen checks was a down payment on a house at the Jersey Shore. She says the thief was able to change the amount of money on one of the checks and deposit it at the bank.

“My husband had to go to the bank and we had to cancel our checking account. I had to go to the bank, we had to re-signup for a new checking account,” McKelvey-Goggins said.

Radnor Township police say there have been nine reports of mail theft, including stolen checks, since the beginning of the year.

“One check amount was for $26. It was altered, washed as they say, and it was deposited for $15,000,” Radnor Township Police Sgt. Christopher Gluck said.

“Particularly here in the Philadelphia area, we’ve had or are following up on theft complaints from almost every zip code in the city and many in the counties, in the suburbs,” postal inspector George Clark said.

To protect yourself, police say:

Mail your checks at the post office or hand them directly to the postal carrier Pay your bills online Find out what time your mail arrives every day and pick it up promptly Avoid leaving your mail in the blue collection boxes overnight “When that last pickup time says 4, 5, 6 o’clock, just hold off until the next day,” Clark said.

Mailbox theft is a federal charge punishable by up to five years in prison. Stealing and cashing a check could lead to additional criminal charges like identity theft, bank fraud and conspiracy.

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