Postal Inspection Service investigating thefts from two mail boxes in Silver Spring

Postal Inspection Service investigating thefts from two mail boxes in Silver Spring

Several people said checks that were in the mail boxes were fraudulently cashed

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The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating thefts from two mailboxes in Silver Spring about a mile apart

Logo from U.S. Postal Inspection Service Twitter page

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating thefts from two mail collection boxes about a mile apart in Silver Spring.

The service is investigating the vandalism and theft from boxes at 101 Franklin Ave. and 301 Williamsburg Drive in Silver Spring, Michael Martel, a spokesman for the inspection service, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat on Thursday. Both mailboxes were reportedly broken into “on or about Sept. 3,” Martel wrote.

The Postal Inspection Service is the enforcement agency of the U.S. Postal Service.

County Council Member Tom Hucker, who represents Silver Spring and lives in the same neighborhood where the Franklin Avenue mailbox is, told Bethesda Beat on Friday that he contacted U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin’s office last week when he heard about the theft from that box on a neighborhood listserv.

Hucker said he had not heard about the alleged Williamsburg Drive theft.

Chris Clark, a Franklin Avenue resident, wrote on the listserv Sept. 3 that he saw a man open the mailbox at the corner of Franklin and Wire avenues and emptied the mail into a shopping bag that day.

“I confronted him but he hopped in a tan sedan with Florida tags and the driver drove off. I called the police. Please keep a lookout!” Clark wrote.

Clark could not be reached for comment Friday.

Another neighbor, who did not include their name, wrote on the listserv Sept. 4 that they had checks made out to the IRS and the State of Maryland that were in the box on Franklin Avenue the day before, which was the same day as the alleged theft. The neighbor wrote that the checks had already been cashed.

“That says to me that this was a crime,” the neighbor wrote.

Pam Wasserman, a Saybrook Avenue resident, wrote on the listserv Sept. 4 of a similar experience.

“The CFO for my organization (a nonprofit) is reporting that 4 of the checks that I put in the box yesterday had already been cashed (totaling close to $9,000) before she was able to stop payment on the others,” she wrote.

Wasserman could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Samantha Brown, a spokeswoman for Raskin’s office, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat Thursday that “a constituent” was referred by Hucker’s office and reported seeing a theft from a blue mailbox in Silver Spring.

“The witness, who also contacted the police about the theft, observed the box being opened not at the top slot but instead by the door, implying that a key was used. Our District Office staff immediately contacted our liaisons at the Silver Spring Post Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)…,” Brown wrote.

Brown wrote that Hucker’s office also informed Raskin’s office that checks placed in “that box” were fraudulently presented to be cashed. Hucker, when asked whether he worries about the security of mailed-in ballots during the upcoming election season, said the report of the mailbox theft troubles him but he “doesn’t want to draw too many conclusions from this one incident.”

“These days everybody’s on a hair trigger alert regarding any threats to U.S. mail, so everybody’s fully within their right to be concerned about this incident and any similar incident they’ve heard about,” he said.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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