Thieves steal W-2s out of mailboxes, police say

Thieves steal W-2s out of mailboxes, police say

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Rock Hill police are warning people who live in apartments not to leave mail in their community mailbox overnight.

In January, Channel 9 reported on a mail-theft ring that stretched from Atlanta to the Charlotte area.

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Thieves were using crowbars to pry open apartment mailboxes, emptying dozens and sometimes even hundreds of boxes at a time.

They were looking for credit card applications, new credit cards sent in the mail as replacements and checks.

Apartment complexes from Rock Hill to Mooresville were hit, and Mooresville police arrested four people, who they said had a book bag full of mail in their car, some of it stolen from Rock Hill.

And it didn’t end there.

Rock Hill police arrested three others Monday who appeared to be connected to the same group of people.

Rock Hill police detectives Keith Dugan and Chris Price said mail thieves were taking W-2 forms and looking up personal information on taxpayers in the hopes of getting tax refunds.

"They did literally file taxes on at least seven victims that we found," Price said.

On Monday, officers were called to the Quality Inn on Cherry Road by a person who said they'd been in an argument and then told them there was stolen mail in their hotel room.

That person turned out to be one of the three suspects arrested.

"The mail was scattered all over the room, credit cards being sent through the mail were scattered," Price said.

Police found a heavy, industrial garbage bag full of mail that appeared to be stolen possibly weeks earlier from Fort Mill and several apartment complexes in Charlotte.

Mail stolen from Ballantyne post office, officials say

Authorities also found license plates the suspects intercepted in the mail and used on cars they drove.

There was also a bag containing burglary tools, including crowbars, chisels and keys to mailboxes.

Devonate Choice of Greenville, Adrain Good of Rock Hill, and Anthony Rowland of Atlanta were charged with the crimes.

FROM LEFT: Choice, Good, Rowland
FROM LEFT: Choice, Good, Rowland

Police believe the string of crimes started last year in Atlanta where Rowland lives.

Dugan said his concern is that this isn't over.

"We are unaware of the actual number of players involved in this, but people are out there still doing this," he said.

The U.S. Postal Service is also investigating the multistate crime ring.

It’s not clear how much money has been spent using stolen credit cards or by getting tax returns.

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