COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - You may have been watching your porch for package thieves, or monitoring your cars for break-ins, and now, police and residents are saying you may want to watch your mailbox.
Residents in Colerain Township said they spotted a woman searching mailboxes on Monday.
"I'm still a little shocked that people are that brazen nowadays," Dawn Smith, who lives in Colerain Twp., said.
It was still daylight on Monday when Chaz Smith said he spotted the woman following a mail truck down Compton Road.
"Probably four or five cars behind him," Chaz Smith said. "She was just going through, opening up mailboxes and looking in them. By the time she got to my mailbox, I was already at my front door, confronting her."
According to Chaz Smith, despite the fact he had caught her in the act, the woman did not stop. She only paused for a second, chuckled and then continued on her trek down the road.
Chaz called police and reported the incident.
"This is going to be the new way to steal," Dawn Smith said.
Colerain Township Police said the woman got away before officers had a chance to question her, so it's hard to determine what she saw or what she may have stolen.
"I take it very serious, very serious, and I warned my other neighbors around me," Dawn Smith said.
Neighbors suspect that the woman may have been hunting for more than quick cash.
"Credit cards coming in the mail, W-2s, tax returns, a slew of things," Chaz Smith said.
They worry thieves may be focusing on identity theft.
"Insurance papers are always coming to your home, whether it's homeowners, renters, health insurance. Your identification is there. That's enough," Dawn Smith said.
Police gave us some tips to keep yourself safe.
Dawn Smith said she plans to install a locked mailbox.
Colerain Twp. Police also want to remind the public that stealing mail is a federal offense, so if you are caught doing it, you could be slapped with federal charges.
They're looking for information on this case and said if you see someone looking through your mailbox, try to get a photo, a video or a solid description of the suspect.
Chaz Smith described the woman in this incident as a young African American woman with black bobbed hair. He said she was likely in her late teens or early 20s and was wearing black yoga pants and a red-bodied jacket with white sleeves.