A man arrested by Whitehall police earlier this month has been connected to 2019's rash of stolen mail and fraudulently cashed checks reported in Clintonville.

Police arrested 19-year-old Cody Beasley on Nov. 6 during a traffic stop. Whitehall police detective John Slosser said Beasley was found with more than 200 stolen checks in his car.

"We obtained a search warrant and, at his house, found more than 500 (stolen) checks," Slosser said.

Erin Lindsey, postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, confirmed that the Beechwold post office, 4364 N. High St., is among the sites from which the checks are believed to have been stolen.

Columbus police have reported at least 20 incidents of theft from the mailboxes in the alley behind the post office since June, most recently Dec. 1, when a check reportedly was stolen, altered and cashed for $2,262.

Slosser said his department had "been watching (Beasley) for a while" and that Whitehall police and federal postal inspectors worked together on the case.

Beasley has been charged with bank fraud, stealing mail and forging checks, reports said.

Neither Slosser nor Lindsey would comment on whether the investigation was ongoing or if others are suspected of mail theft in the incidents.

"It's nice to see something happening," said Clintonville resident Mark Blanchard, who is among those who have reported stolen and fraudulently cashed checks from the Beechwold post office.

But Blanchard added he continues to see police reports of stolen checks in the 43214 ZIP code.

Lindsey offered several tips to thwart mail thieves. They include:

* Use the letter slots inside post offices for mail, or hand it to a letter carrier

* If an expected check or other valuable mail doesn't arrive, contact the issuing agency immediately

* Don't send cash in the mail

* Report all suspected mail theft to a postal inspector at 877-876-2455.