Woodbury police arrest 5 accused of stealing 'thousands of pieces of mail' throughout metro

January 16, 2019 05:58 AM

Authorities in Woodbury say five people have recently been arrested in connection to what is alleged to have been a substantial mail theft ring.

Woodbury police say the individuals involved were not only responsible for countless mail thefts, but also fled from law enforcement several times after committing crimes.

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"We started getting calls for mail thefts and suspicious activity," said Detective Adam Sack, with Woodbury Police. "Real early on we realized this crew was going to be a little bit more difficult to catch."


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The post said thousands of pieces of stolen mail, stolen firearms, check and identity forging materials, Christmas cards, passports, a stolen car and controlled substances were recovered as part of the investigation.

"They would alter the stolen checks so they were payable to their names, and they would sometimes alter the dollar amount," Sack said. 

The mail stolen came from across the Twin Cities metro area, meaning it will take time to return everything to its owners.

According to police, the suspects allegedly referred to their practice as flagging, meaning they searched neighborhoods for mailboxes with flags up in the hope of finding outgoing mail that included checks. The post alleges one even had a custom t-shirt made which was recovered in one of the suspect vehicles.

"It was clear this was premeditated and this is something they took pride in," Sack said. 

The news of the arrests comes just about a month after police had asked for the public's help in locating a burnt orange Ford Focus that was wanted in connection to mail thefts in the community. The post states that during an unrelated shoplifting investigation, information was provided about the car, its occupants and their activity.

Woodbury Police say they're working with the postal inspector to identify all the victims and say it will take a few months to return all the stolen mail. 

The post also includes tips on preventing mail theft. They include:

  • Hand-delivering sensitive and valuable outgoing mail directly to the mail carrier, or using a secured mailbox like the ones found at a post office.
  • If one must place mail in a residential mailbox, not using the red flag.
  • Consider using a P.O. Box or a mailbox that locks.
  • Having packages delivered to a business address, or asking a neighbor to collect them from the front step as soon as possible.
  • Collecting mail from a mailbox as soon as possible.
  • Not letting mail sit in a mailbox overnight.
  • Notifying the post office if going out of town, or having a trusted neighbor collect mail while gone.

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Credits

Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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