Phoenix residents concerned about stolen mail

Grinches steal more than just Christmas

PHOENIX - It all started when a man saw something strange near 41st Avenue and Thunderbird Road.

"It was a small grey car, like a Ford Fiesta, driving by, with a woman and man inside, and they threw a bunch of envelopes on the ground," one neighbor explains.

When the man when to pick up the mail, he noticed something unusual. There was a familiar face on one of the Christmas cards.

"It's got my wife's name and our address on it here," Larry Schad points out.  "And we all worked for the same company."

It was a lucky break. Because Larry's former co-worker found his mail two miles away. So, when he returned it, Larry and his neighbors took a closer look.

"Turned out to be pieces of mail from pretty much everybody in the neighborhood," points out Russ, who lives in the neighborhood and also had his outgoing mail stolen.

In fact, the neighbors we spoke with say the mail thrown out the car window Monday afternoon had addresses from 35th Street to 59th Street and Yucca to Peoria. 

But the crooks didn't just get away with Larry's Christmas cards, but gift cards, checks and who knows what else.

"You throw stuff in the mailbox and you don't really remember what you put in there," says George Morgan, one of the neighbors who had his mail stolen.

In Russ's case, they got his identity.

"Picked up my name, address and bank account numbers, you know all those things you really kinda like to keep private," he says. "What have I exposed myself to? And what kind of damage can these people do to me?"

The answer is a lot! Stolen mail, from outside your home, happens more than you think.

It's why Sgt. Steve Martos with the Phoenix Police Department says it's important to act fast, "have people check on their credit score, check their credit cards, and make sure there are not any other accounts that are being opened up."

"But, that's not free, you have to pay for it," says Russ, who agrees paying to keep yourself safe is important.

So far, he's out nearly $70, to protect himself, in addition to the time and the hassle of dealing with two Grinches who stole a lot more than just Christmas.

Police say, if you have something valuable to mail or anything with critical information inside, take it to the post office, instead of leaving it in your mailbox.

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