Mail thefts on rise in Dover

DOVER — A rash of thefts from post office collection boxes prompted city law enforcement Thursday to issue a public advisory urging caution when sending mail.

There have been at least eight incidents at two U.S. Postal Service boxes within the past three weeks, one involving a $200 check that was altered to indicate $40,000 and then presented at a bank to cash, Dover police said.

The known incidents occurred on Buckson Drive and the 1000 block of S. Bradford St., spokesman Sgt. Mark Hoffman said. There may be more incidents that have gone unreported or unnoticed as missing mail, he said.

Dover police and the Postal Service are investigating what’s an unusually high number of recent cases, Sgt. Hoffman said. Patrol officers are aware of the locations and are monitoring the areas, police said.

“Detectives said they have seen it spontaneously before but never this many in a short period of time,” he said.

Potential charges for violators include fraud, forgery and theft, police said, along with any federal charges that could result.

In several cases, police said stolen checks have been altered or changed before being cashed illegally.

Police urged citizens to use caution when sending mail and suggested that drop-offs at a post office are the safest method. Authorities pointed to the post office at 55 Loockerman Plaza “or at a location with high visibility and more vehicle/foot traffic.”

Post office and collection box locations can be found online at tools.usps.com/find-location.htm.