Las Cruces – Las Cruces Police are warning residents to refrain from placing payment checks in unsecured mailboxes as they could easily be stolen and fraudulently used by the perpetrator.
In the past couple of weeks LCPD detectives have investigated a handful of fraud and forgery cases related to personal checks that appear to have been stolen from residential mailboxes and then washed, or bleached, and cashed by the perpetrator for much higher amounts.
Detectives believe that mailboxes, in particular curbside mailboxes, are targeted when the red flag is raised. The raised flag is intended to indicate that outgoing mail is ready to be picked up by the letter carrier but perpetrators may see the raised flag as an opportunity to look for a signed personal check.
It is a federal offense to steal mail from collection boxes. Anyone found guilty of such an offense is subject to a fine, imprisonment up to five years or both.
The Las Cruces Police Department recommends that outgoing mail - especially payments that contain checks - be deposited into a secure cluster box, a blue Postal Service collection box or taken directly to the post office.