MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Nearly a dozen people were rounded up in the latest mail theft crackdown by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Nine suspects were arrested, including seven Thursday morning, as part of “Operation Hook, Line and Sinker.”
The suspects reportedly committed mail theft, or more specifically, collection box “fishing.”
Law enforcement said they took letters containing checks, leaving only the pre-printed information. They then allegedly wrote in their own name and a higher amount, then cashed it out.
“It’s literally like fishing,” said USPIS Miami Division Inspector in Charge Antonio J. Gomez. “They’re taking these substances, they’re taking these devices, placing them in collection boxes and literally fishing the outbound mail.”
Twelve people were victimized in the thefts.
“From all my 12 victims, it was just under $14,000 where they fraudulently altered the check and made it out to a higher amount, and that money was deducted out of my victims’ account,” said Coral Springs Police Ofc. Gene Cashier.
The joint operation included the Coral Springs and Miami-Dade Police departments.
Authorities arrested the following Miami-Dade County residents in connection to this case:
- Angel Luis Arcila Berovides, 19
- Dayan Moreira Clemente, 21
- Liubert Cordero, 27
- Mario Jorge Marrero-Corvo, 21
- Rosalia Llompart Garcia, 21
- Lorena Gonzalez, 19
- Geysi Hernandez Mendoza, 37
- Enlys Cosme Palacios, 22
- Frank Rojas, 27
Agents are looking for a 10th suspect, Alexander Reyes, 25, as well.
They’re facing charges that include organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and identity theft.
“The arrests of these individuals should serve as reassurance that the U.S. Postal Service remains one of the safest and securest means of conducting both personal and private business,” said Gomez in a statement.
If convicted of all counts, the defendants face up to 15 years in prison. The Attorney General’s office will prosecute the case.
The U.S. Postal Service urges anyone who spots suspicious activity, or sees someone stealing mail from a collection box, to contact the police or their local post office. They should also report any overflowing collection boxes, or sticky substances on the boxes, to postal officials.
To keep their mail safe, the Postal Service urges its customers to avoid depositing mail into collection boxes after hours or during the weekends. Collection times are clearly posted on every collection box. If you must send out mail after the posted collection times, personally hand it to a mail carrier or deposit it inside a collection box inside the post office.