OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office is currently looking into a string of thefts, in which checks are swiped from commercial mailboxes and then cashed elsewhere.
In total, authorites say that the amount of the stolen checks have added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It's happened numerous times in the area of Jamestown, Georgetown, and Tallmadge Townships.
Authorities say that checks have been stolen out of mailboxes from area businesses, either from the outgoing or incoming mail.
Often, multiple checks are taken from each batch of mail, police say, meaning that multiple people are being defrauded.
Authorities say that whoever steals the checks then changes the payee and the original amount for the which the check was written.
These stolen checks are then cashed in other locations- usually in the state, but police say that checks have been cashed as far away as Arizona and Colorado.
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office released photos of a suspected vehicle, as well as a female suspect who police say cashed one of the stolen checks.
Investigators are working with financial institutions, trying to stop payment on the checks and restore the stolen money. The United States Postal Inspection service has also been contacted.
The Sheriff's Office asks that the public be aware of strange vehicles attempting to access mailboxes and report any suspicious activity.
Additionally, businesses may want to avoid mailing checks with large dollar amounts or consider using a locked mailbox, Postal Service dropbox or delivering outgoing mail directly to the Post Office.
These incidents remain under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office or Silent Observer at 1-877-88-SILENT (745368) or mosotips.com.