Victims of mail theft from popular post office report nearly $90,000 in losses
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - One of the latest victims of a mail fraud scheme first exposed by WSMV4 Investigates said she’s learned her lesson.
“I certainly, probably, will never put something in a post office box,” said attorney Amanda Gentry.
Gentry’s law firm employee placed a payment in the collection box outside the Green Hills post office, only to have the check inside stolen, washed of details, and reproduced, ultimately costing her nearly $20,000.
“That’s a huge chunk of change. I’ve got payroll to meet, I’ve got employees to pay,” Gentry said.
Robert Reeves paid his taxes by placing his payment in the Green Hills collection box.
Shortly afterwards, he learned his check had been stolen and reproduced to cost him $9,800.
“I’m a little upset that someone would do this, but how could they get away with it?” Reeves said.
Combined with the two previous cases WSMV4 Investigates exposed, the total so far in initial loses is nearly $90,000.
“Just can’t believe someone would do this,” Reeves said.
Frank Albergo, president of the Postal Police Officers Association, saw our story and said mail theft has become an epidemic.
“Do you feel that people can trust that their mail is going to be safe?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.
“In certain areas? No. It’s not safe. those boxes have been compromised,” Albergo said.
Albergo said criminals long figured out how to fish mail out of these boxes, or have stolen keys that open the boxes. “The criminals are reacting. It’s an easy crime at this point,” Albergo said.
U.S. Post Office data, first obtained by NBC News’ investigative unit, shows a troubling leap in stolen checks from the mail.
According to the date, 7,771 checks were stolen in 2017.
By 2020, 29,510 checks had been stolen.
Albergo blames the USPS’ decision to slash postal police officers during the pandemic.
“Since the benching of the postal police force, mail theft has absolutely exploded. It’s spreading like wildfire,” Albergo said.
In the four cases we’ve discovered, all people were ultimately paid back by their banks.
We did repeatedly reach out to the U.S. Postal Inspector’s office with our new findings and to request an update on their investigation, but have not heard back.
WSMV4 will continue to monitor this situation and will report on any new developments.
Copyright 2023 WSMV. All rights reserved.