Mystery Of Missing Oakland County Mail Linked To Interstate Crime

"We found thousands of pounds of mail from all over"

August 05, 2019 - 5:41 pm

BLOOMFIELD TWP. (WWJ) - The mystery of the missing mail in one upscale Oakland County community is shedding light on growing crime nationwide. 

Bloomfield Township Lt. Paul Schwab says the police started getting calls just over a year ago. Residents reported missing mail, seeing strangers growing through mailboxes and mail left strewn on the streets.  

Eventually, a man was caught in the act; and when police went through the suspect's storage unit: "We found thousands of pounds of mail, from all over," Schwab told WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeill. 

After that busted, however, the mail thefts continued in Bloomfield without pause. And as police dug further into the case, they uncovered evidence tying the crimes to crooks across the nation stealing information for identity fraud. 

"This is not just one person who decides, 'You know what? I think I'm gonna go out today and start stealing people's mail and see what I can find.' It doesn't work that way," Schwab said. "A lot of these are people who are involved with larger rings. These rings extend out over several states, and they know the type of mail they're looking for. They even have it down to what the envelopes look like."

Schwab said Bloomfield Township police have taken at least two dozen calls from victims, and the department now has two full-time investigators working solely on identity theft.

Both locally and at the federal level, the investigation is ongoing. 

"We do have some people of interest that we're trying to locate that we believe either have information, or are responsible for the thefts," Schwab said. "Again, these are very complicated investigations...they take a lot of time." 

"One of our investigators we have loaned out to the FBI Identity Theft and Financial Crimes Task Force; he's heading it up on our behalf, and they are utilizing everything they have with the postal inspector and resources and assets at the FBI as well." 

To avoid falling victim to identity thieves, all residents are urged to pick up the mail as soon as possible, use a locked box or go paperless.

"I don't think you need to be paranoid or scared or anything; but, I mean, just be vigilant," Schwab said. "And if you see people who are not postal workers going through mailboxes, call you local police department."