Police say thieves struck in the middle of the night at an apartment complex in Cutler Bay, smashing into a multiple mail box enclosure early Wednesday.
Miami-Dade Police officials said they recovered more than 100 pieces of stolen mail and packages, and one of the suspects is facing federal mail theft charges.
A witness who did not want to be identified said they saw the crime as it happened at the complex on Southwest 224th Street.
"They went toward the mailboxes right there behind me and started loading a big shopping bag full of mail, packages, and I recorded them for five or six minutes, called 911,” the person said.
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The United States Postal Inspection Service said the target of the thieves might have been federal stimulus checks.
“Mail theft has always been a serious crime, it’s a federal offense, now because of the pandemic, people are receiving stimulus checks in the mail so we always tell our customers with their mail, try to pick up their mail as soon as it’s delivered, and if they can’t do that have somebody else pick it up for them,” said Blanca Alvarez of the USPIS.
Postal inspectors said mail thieves look for anything valuable, and if they know how to wash checks, they can actually cash someone’s stimulus check.
"Mail thieves, when they steal checks, sometimes they’ll wash the checks and try to deposit them in other accounts, the bankers are sometimes able to identify checks that are washed because they can tell by looking at it, other times, if it gets deposited via ATM, it doesn’t get noticed until after it’s deposited,” Alvarez explained.
Those who have the expertise can actually change the names and amounts on checks.
The USPIS recommends retrieving mail as soon as possible, and don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight where it can become a target for thieves.