WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — An organized group of thieves has stolen tens of thousands of dollars from mailboxes in the Washington area over the past few months, authorities say.
The group has been targeting private mailboxes in Maryland, Virginia and the District since the summer — nearly 300 thefts in all — looking for uncashed checks that can be forged and cashed, police tell WNEW Senior Correspondent Mark Segraves.
Authorities in Prince George’s and Charles counties in Maryland; communities in northern Virginia; and the District have received complaints from residents saying their mail has been stolen.
Police tell Segraves the thieves operate in two groups: the first group goes through neighborhoods stealing mail residents have left to be picked up, and the mail is then handed off to another group that searches for uncashed checks — like utility or mortgage payments — in the mail.
Police say 39-year-old Crystal Renee Brown then forges the checks stolen by erasing the name on the check and placing her name on it. She then takes the check to a bank and cashes it.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office says it was able to identify Brown as a suspect when she left her photo ID at a Charles County bank after a teller became suspicious and refused to cash a check Brown brought into the bank.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office says it’s also looking for a person of interest seen in photos with Brown.
WNEW Senior Correspondent Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow Mark on Twitter.