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Mail stolen from 12 boxes in northeast Sedgwick County

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, at 2:56 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 6:11 a.m.

Law enforcement is investigating mail stolen recently from a dozen mailboxes in northeast Sedgwick County, as well as a rash of other crimes in the same area.

The mail thefts occurred sometime between last Friday evening and Saturday morning in the 3000 to 7000 blocks north of 143rd Street East, Sedgwick County sheriff’s Lt. David Mattingly said Wednesday.

There also have been reports in the past two days of car thefts, attempted car thefts and larcenies in that area, he added.

“It’s been a hot spot for other crime,” Mattingly said. “We don’t know if that’s tied to the mail thefts, but it’s very conspicuous that they’re all in the same area.”

It’s not known what mail was actually taken, but Mattingly warned that residents throughout the area should pay close attention to credit card statements and credit reports because thieves can use personal information from mail to access accounts.

“Once they have this type of information they can use it for fraud and forgery,” he said. “Someone with a computer can come up with fake checks and do a lot of damage to someone’s credit.

“Especially at Christmas time, people are online buying things. It’s a little bit easier to use someone else’s identity online rather than in person.”

Last weekend’s theft was discovered after a resident in the rural area found a pile of bulk mail in the street near one of the mailboxes. Deputies used the addresses on the mail to track down most of the residents.

Some pieces of stolen mail were later found in southern portions of the county, Mattingly said.

All of the mailboxes were single boxes along the side of the road. Authorities don’t have a suspect or description of a vehicle that may have been involved in the thefts.

Mattingly asked anyone who might have information on the case to call the sheriff’s investigation department at 316-660-5300 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 316-267-2111. Anyone seeing suspicious activity should call 911, he added.

“We’re asking people to be particularly vigilant in eastern Sedgwick County,” Mattingly said.

Last April, mail thefts were reported throughout the county, although a large number of them were on the east side, Mattingly said. The number of victims during that period eventually grew to 350, he added.

It’s not known whether those mail thefts are related to last weekend’s incident, he said.

One group is thought to have been involved in the spring thefts, which included breaking into mailboxes at apartment complexes, Mattingly said. Some arrests have been made in that case, but more could occur.

“The size of that group hasn’t been determined,” he said.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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