Thousands of dollars worth of checks written by Madeira church stolen from USPS blue boxes

‘Basically they’ve done nothing, and it just continues to happen.’
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 11:03 PM EST
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MADEIRA, Ohio (WXIX) - Mail fraud and check fraud have hit a local church, according to the senior warden of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Barry Feist says he initially stopped using the USPS blue boxes outside the Madeira Post Office because he’d heard about reports of thefts. He was using the church’s own mailbox instead.

But the mail wasn’t always getting picked up, he says, causing the church to have late bills. So Feist says he was forced to go back to using the blue boxes—and it’s a decision the church is now paying for.

“Pretty upset,” Feist said. “Feel pretty victimized.”

Feist, a church member for 14 years, says he began depositing the weekly checks from the church in the blue boxes on Oct. 30.

On Nov. 13, he says he got a call from the Fifth Third Bank in Beavercreek outside Dayton.

“They said someone deposited a check from Holy Trinity church for $6,050.11,” Feist recalled. “And I said, ‘Wow, that’s not ours,’ and they said, ‘We didn’t think so, we’re not going to process the deposit.’”

Fifth Third’s Madeira branch called Feist a week later to say someone had deposited a check for more than $5,000 using the Holy Trinity checking account. Feist says the same name was on the account trying to deposit that check.

The church then learned another counterfeit check was pending deposit out of the church’s account for $2,500. The church is still in the process of reclaiming that money from the bank.

“Stealing is wrong, period,” Feist said. “But stealing from a church is just taking it down to a whole other level.”

Feist says the USPS Investigative Services called him personally to let him know a case has been opened. He also filed a report with Madeira PD.

“I was told by the Madeira police that the people who created the counterfeit checks could very well just be mules for someone who is running the rings,” he said.

Feist adds police told him someone has been stealing checks from the blue boxes at the post office up to three times a week.

“We’re not the only church that’s been hit,” he said. “The St. Paul’s at the corner had the same thing happen to them.”

Postal Inspector Nicole Lutz says they are aware of the thefts. No further details are available as the investigation is ongoing.

Feist says USPS has known about this ongoing issue of thefts for nearly two years.

“Basically they’ve done nothing, and it just continues to happen,” he said.

Feist says from now on he’s going to go into the post office and personally hand the check to a clerk. He’s also going to use auto-pay as much as possible.

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