Thieves have been targeting rent drop boxes in apartment complex's around the city. A number of checks and money orders have been stolen. Businesses and residents, need to know what to do and what not to do, to make sure they don't become victims.
Police were notified this week when rent checks and money orders started disappearing from multiple apartment complex's around Wichita Falls. After some investigation, it was determined they were stolen from rent drop boxes.
"From what I understand it was just a straight drop so, in order to get the mail back out it was basically fished out," said Sargeant John Spragins, Public Information Officer for the Wichita Falls P.D.
Spragins said, even if the checks are already made out thieves can still steal your money. "A lot of the thieves or people that are involved in this type of criminal behavior, they like to erase the ink from the check and then turn around and try to write it to themselves. So, that's one of the scams behind this," said Spragins.
The Fountaingate Apartment Complex was one location that hit. Seven checks and three money orders had been stolen. They now have a sign in the window, telling residents not to use the drop box. They also placed a piece of wood in the drop box to block checks and thieves from getting in. "At this point many of those complexes are trying to devise a better way to secure those drop boxes," said Spragins.
Spragins said, many people like to leave their mail out for the mailman to pick up or they have unsecured mailboxes; those are things that may leave residents open to theft.
"So I would say, take that stuff directly into the apartment complex, to the manager, to the office personnel, and drop it off directly with them," said Spragins.
The Financial Crimes Division recommends homeowners and businesses also be vigilant with their mail as this has been a problem in Wichita Falls in the past.
Spragins said, you can't take away thieves ability and you can't take away their desire, but you can take away the opportunity. And by doing that, it really decreases the chance of you becoming a victim.
If residents suspect their checks have been stolen, they are encouraged to check with their financial institution to make sure it was deposited by the intended party.