Grove City Record

Mailbox thefts

Thieves take bills, use information to commit fraud

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The Grove City Police Division is working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service after several incidents of fraud were perpetrated by someone who went through the mailboxes at a Grove City condominium complex.

About 14 residents of the condo complex in the 1300 block of Cascade Drive have been affected by thefts of items from their mailboxes on two separate occasions, around Jan. 2 and March 5.

Grove City police Det. Teri Ruslander said the perpetrators are believed to have taken residents' bills from their mailboxes, opened them, copied the account and routing numbers of the victims' accounts and then placed the mail back in the mailboxes.

With the information obtained, the culprits began writing and cashing counterfeit checks, Ruslander said.

"They're cashing these counterfeit checks all over the country," she said. "There have been several reports taken."

The number of mailboxes entered is actually less than the number of victims because some mailboxes had checks from more than one resident in them, she said. One mailbox had checks from eight different residents made out to the condo association, Ruslander said.

Some of the victims are senior citizens, but not all, Ruslander said.

It's unknown whether the perpetrators are local, Ruslander said.

"We're not quite sure," she said. "At this point, it's an ongoing investigation."

Ruslander said this is not a common type of theft in Grove City.

"We don't have a large number of mail thefts," she said.

Ruslander said the public needs to know that when mailing bills and checks, residents should take them directly to the post office instead of leaving them out in their mailboxes.

"That's the key," she said. "Online billing is a great thing, too."

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