Why are postal thefts increasing? Head of postal police says the USPS has itself to blame

‘We’re federal police officers and we’re being told by the postal service to do nothing. That’s sick.’
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:04 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The national president of the Postal Police Officers Association says mail theft and check fraud is reaching epidemic-proportions.

The Tri-State has seen its share, whether a check theft in Lockland or a master “arrow” key stolen in Covington or a forgery scheme busted in Madeira.

Anne White, of Finneytown, is yet another victim.

“You just feel very isolated, you know? You’re not even sure if they’re going to break in your house,” White said Friday.

White is still shocked after she had two checks stolen from her mailbox.

“I’m a senior citizen,” she said, “so I need that money back to pay my bills. That’s over $2,000 that I’m out.”

One check was for a bill. The other was for her grandson’s child support.

“So you can see it on the photocopy how they doctored this check and cashed it,” she said.

White went to the bank to close the account, and she says Springfield Township police are involved in the investigation. But the suspect cashed the check in Columbus, so the case is now transferred to Columbus PD.

“I’m sure this person cashes these checks and then closes out their account, you know, so they’re harder to find,” she said.

Frank Albergo is president of the Postal Police Officers Association.

“I think criminals are starting to realize what an easy crime this is,” Albergo said. “There aren’t many arrests made. Postal police officers are no longer patrolling these hot spots where this is taking place.”

Albergo says in 2020, the postal service essentially defunded its own uniformed police force in the midst of a mail theft epidemic. Although the PPOs still exist, they’re confined to postal facilities.

“We still travel from one post office to another post office, but in that line of travel, if we see mail theft in progress or we see a letter carrier being robbed, we’re told to drive away, call 911 and do nothing,” he explained. “We’re federal police officers and we’re being told by the postal service to do nothing. That’s sick.”

Albergo notes there are more postal inspectors than postal police officers.

“Imagine a police force that has more detectives than unformed cops,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

White says she hasn’t written any checks since the theft happened.

“The banks have to start really checking these checks for people a little bit better so this doesn’t happen,” she said.

Albergo adds that although mail theft is escalating at a concerning rate, arrests and prosecutions of mail theft suspects are down.

“To make matters worse,” he said, “postal inspectors can claim an arrest, even though they didn’t make an arrest.”

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