Authorities warn of mail thefts around Johnson County

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind - Police agencies across Johnson County are looking for a woman who may be involved in multiple thefts from mailboxes in several neighborhoods.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Department received several reports over the weekend about mail being stolen from residential mailboxes. At one Greenwood home, in the 4600 block of Macy Drive, the victim told police a neighbor had seen a woman going to her mailbox before missing mail was discovered. The woman was described as a white female in her 30s with blonde hair pulled into a ponytail. The woman was in a small, red SUV, according to Sheriff Duane Burgess.

“We’ve notified in the county of these thefts so that they can look out for this individual,” Burgess said.

Another report of stolen mail brought deputies to Briar Patch Road in Bargersville. A man told police a new Visa card that was supposed to have been delivered was not in his mailbox. The man is signed up for the U.S. Postal Service’s “Informed Delivery Service,” which told him the card had been delivered. The man also directed investigators to multiple pieces of mail that had been scattered down the road from his home.

“We were going down this way and there was just mail scattered all across the street, some in the ravine, some in my neighbor’s yard,” said Michael Moreno. “Maybe something happened to the mail carrier, he ripped his bag, dropped some letters-- but the opened ones didn’t make sense to me.”

Investigators determined the scattered pieces of mail were among those stolen from 10 different homes in Greenwood, Bargersville, Whiteland and the south side of Indianapolis. Stolen items included rebate and debit cards as well as checks. Investigators have not determined whether the thefts are all connected to the same suspect or group.

Greenwood resident Stephanie Gorman said no mail was stolen from her mailbox, but her next door neighbor had been a theft victim.

“It’s creepy,” Gorman said. “It doesn’t make me feel at ease, knowing I have kids playing around here and there’s people driving by looking through our stuff.”

“It’s not that we get this type of crime a lot, but it does seem like it occurs at least once a year,” Burgess said. “You’ll have people who will attempt to wash a check where they can fill that check out with something else and cash it.”

Burgess recommends residents take precautions against mail theft by following security tips offered by the U.S. Postal Inspector. Those include not sending checks from your home outgoing mail.

“Any time you can use a post office box, or a post box to send out your mail, that’s probably the best way to do it,” Burgess said.

“If I do have a check, I tend to put it in a blue mailbox that is at the post office or just around different areas,” said Gorman.

Other tips include not sending cash, trying to pick and deposit mail close to your delivery time and requesting signature confirmation when sending something important.

The USPS Informed Delivery service is also a great tool for keeping track of mail send to your home. The free service includes signing up for daily emails that detail the contents of mail sent to your home. The service may not prevent theft from your mailbox, but it can let you quickly check to see if anything is missing. That can help investigators get a fast start on looking into the case.

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