MIRAMAR, Fla. – Ten people have been arrested in a mail-theft sting, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced Thursday.
A spokeswoman said the roundup was a joint effort involving Coral Springs police, Miami-Dade police and the Florida Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Officials confirmed the nine arrestees were at the center of a collection box "fishing" investigation, dubbed "Operation Hook, Line and Sinker."
"They're targeting the mail and whatever they can get can be used to their proceeds," USPS inspector-in-charge Tony Gomez said.
The round-up started early in the morning that some of the suspects were still in their pajamas.
Postal inspectors showed up to several homes in South Florida to serve warrants to a total of 10 people.
Seven of them were located and escorted into the United States postal facility in Doral to be questioned further about their alleged involvement in the mail theft ring.
The operation was a months-long investigation into a group of people who are accused of targeting mail collection boxes in Coral Springs and stealing from them.
Investigators said the four men and three women arrested Thursday were involved by doing things like cashing checks and using credit cards stolen from those boxes.
According to a media release, the suspects removed all written information from the checks, leaving only the pre-printed information before writing in their own name and a higher amount. They then allegedly deposited the checks into their bank accounts.
"It's literally like fishing. They are taking these substances, they're taking these devices (and) they're placing them in collection boxes and literally fishing the outbound mail," Gomez said.
Authorities said the victims didn't realize that the checks placed in the mail had been redirected, changed to a higher amount and cashed out until they received their bank statements.
Two others were already in custody and one more agreed over the phone to turn himself in over the phone.
The suspects face several charges, including organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and identity theft.
Below is a list of the suspects arrested:
- Angel Luis Arcila Berovides, 19;
- Dayan Moreira Clemente, 21;
- Liubert Cordero, 27;
- Mario Jorge Marrero-Corvo, 21
- Rosalia Llompart Garcia, 21;
- Lorena Gonzalez, 19;
- Geysi Hernandez Mendoza, 37;
- Enlys Cosme Palacios, 22;
- Alexander Reyes, 25; and
- Frank Rojas, 27.
To prevent your mail from being stolen, the postal service reminds you to not put things into collection boxes over the weekend or at night.. It's best to drop it off in the morning, knowing that it will be picked up that day.