Neighbors struggle to find answers after $8,000 in checks stolen

Neighbors don't know to turn to Postal Inspection Service after checks stolen

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - After thousands of dollars worth of checks were stolen from them out of mailboxes, two neighbors were left struggling to get justice.

"Me and my neighbor have called five or six different places and (are) not getting anywhere," said Heath Payne.

Between the two of them, Payne and Hank Fuentes had eight checks worth about $8,000 total stolen out of their mailboxes on Dal Cin Drive in North Bexar County.

"Yeah, I know it happens a lot at the holidays.  People using this to pay for their Christmases - of course, it's at our expense," Payne said.

He says the thief or thieves cashed six checks for two credit card companies and a $2,000 check from his renter - though he said they altered it to $1,000.

Fuentes said a $400 check to him was stolen and cashed.

"It's just the idea that a person works for their money, and somebody just comes along and takes it," Fuentes said.

The two were frustrated by their efforts to follow up with law enforcement, too.

"I know who is doing it based on who they wrote the checks to and who is cashing the checks - reported all this to Bexar County, and as of yet, no one has even called me back," Payne said.

Neither of them, though, thought to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the agency that investigates mail theft - a federal crime.

"Of course, nobody ever advised me of that," Fuentes said.

After contacting KSAT, Payne reached out to the Postal Inspection Service. Now, a postal inspector is following up on the case.

Mail theft is punishable by up to five years in prison. If you are a victim of mail theft, you can reach the USPIS at 877-876-2455, or by clicking here.

It's easier to not get ripped of in the first place, though. So the USPIS suggests taking precautions like:

- Collecting the mail quickly after it is delivered

- Having a temporary hold put on your mail if you're out of town

- Shipping your packages to a place where there's someone to receive them

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