ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO - A man has been arrested in connection with mail theft in south St. Louis County neighborhoods.
St. Louis County Police said a man, 36, could be responsible for numerous thefts, forgeries, and frauds. It is possible he is linked to five other incidents involving circumstance similar to those of Ralph Wolters.
Wolters, 81, lives in the Mehlville area. The resident said a check he wrote for $17.95 was stolen, forged, and even cashed for nearly 10 times the amount.
Wolters said the check was placed in his mailbox and addressed to Publishers Clearing House, from whom he ordered flashlights.
The flashlights worked, but he was in for a surprise, he said.
“I called to see what my check balance was. “The original check was for $17.95, and they altered it to $170,” he said. “I didn’t like it at all. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do or what to say or nothing.”
St. Louis County Police said Wolters did the right thing: he checked his account balance frequently and reported the incident to the bank, as well as police.
Police said the cases can be difficult to investigate.
“It’s such a pain for the victim,” Sgt. Shawn McGuire said. “You have a lot of crimes going on there. The entering of the mailbox is obviously a federal crime. Changing the check around and changing the amount – that’s a forgery. And that’s serious stuff.”
Fortunately, a break was made in the case in recent days. The suspect was recently arrested and taken into custody in another jurisdiction. St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Property is investigating other incidents in the county.
Wolters’ bank refunded him the money and changed his bank account information.
It is unclear why he was targeted, he said. But Wolters said he learned a lesson.
“Don’t put any checks in the mailbox. I’ll put them in the post office mailbox. There’s a mailbox up here.”