Mailbox Bandits Update

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

You would think that anyone would want to get a check like this.

But if the money is coming out of your banking account and you don't know it, well, that's another story.

This has been the case for dozens of victims across the Wiregrass who became prey to a scam, while trying to pay their bills.

"Two individuals who confessed, and what they were doing was driving around looking for mailboxes with the flag up, they then get the mail to discover if there was any bills being paid and they'd steal those checks," Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams says.

Retired police officer Harry Smith is a victim of this scam.

"I wasn't surprised when they left the mailbox door open and the flag up, I knew I had to get to the bank and see if they got my check," Smith says

The criminals used an ink erasing formula, and altered the checks.

After being tipped-off enterprise police arrested Phenix City's John Gordon and Stephanie Crews.

Together, the two have a long list of priors that include leaving the scene of an accident, meth manufacturing, and forgery.

After confessing to investigators, they said they'd used the money to buy food, merchandise and drugs.

But their work didn't end in coffee and dale counties.

"We became aware of this sometime around Jan. 18 when we had a call from a victim, so it made it to Houston Co. on Jan. 18," says Houston County Sheriff Lamar Glover

But Dale County’s district attorney says to use common sense before convenience.

"We want the public to know to know:

--Don't leave outgoing mail in the mailbox overnight
---Don't Leave Mail in Mailbox Over the Weekend, have your neighbors check your box if you're out of town
---Send Reordered checks to the Bank."

Both suspects are being held in the Coffee County Jail, under a $7,000 bond.


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