Date: November 22, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, Pager

PCSO Investigating String Of Mail Thefts In South Lakeland

Deputies assigned to the Southwest District of the Polk County Sheriff's Office are searching for suspect(s) involved in the theft of mail during the past month in the South Lakeland area.  Between November 4 and November 22, 2002, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the following areas were hit:

  • Golfview and Lawndale Roads off of Combee
  • Skyline Drive off of Reynolds
  • Canal Drive off of Combee
  • Reynolds Road near Skyview
  • Reynolds Road near Sunshine Village
  • Everett and Magnolia Streets off of Combee
  • Snow Road; Michael Lane
  • Pinewood Village

Residents become victims when they leave mail in their residential mailboxes and leave the red flag on the box up, indicating mail is inside.  Suspects have been known to drive around in selected neighborhoods in search of those mailboxes with the flags up signifying outgoing mail.  Suspects then sort through the mail, singling out envelopes containing checks, bill payments, or credit card applications.  Checks are altered and cashed.  Personal credit information is used to commit identity theft.

Deputies in the above-mentioned areas are increasing patrols, working undercover, and serving warrants on known suspects in the area.  The Sheriff's Office, especially in light of the upcoming holiday season, is also encouraging county residents to mail outgoing parcels - especially checks, currency, and bill payments - at the Post Office whenever possible, or to purchase and utilize locking mailboxes.  Residents are urged to immediately call the Sheriff's  Office at 863.533.0444 to report any suspicious vehicles or persons cruising by or stopping at mailboxes.

For more information or to report suspicious activity relating to these cases please contact Sgt. Eric Rauch at 863.499.2400.

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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