VICTIM: Greg and Peyton Bender

 

DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 18

 

TIME: Unknown

 

PLACE: 4100 block of Sperry

 

 

Peyton Bender admits that, technically, no harm was done — but there could’ve been.

 

“I just want people to be a little more careful about putting any outgoing payments in the mailbox,” she says.

 

On Monday, Jan. 24, she and husband Greg received a letter from the Mesquite Police Department stating they had arrested a man who had 20 different people’s mail on him — mostly checks — and one of those people was Greg Bender.

 

Although the man had not yet cashed any of the checks, he had already changed one of them over to his name.

 

Bender, a builder, runs his business from home. Because of the nature of his job, he sends outgoing payments through his residential mailbox. He’s been doing that for eight years. And before that, his wife worked from home as well.

 

“We’ve had no problem before with getting our mail stolen,” says Peyton Bender.

 

According to Officer Keith Allen of the Dallas Police Department Central Patrol Division, this type of crime is hard to quantify because most often, victims will call the post office, and the police will never hear about it.

 

What makes it even more complicated is that stealing mail is a federal offense, so the local police have no jurisdiction over it. But — as in the case of the Benders — if the criminal tries to cash in a stolen checks, it becomes a forgery and therefore a matter for the local police.

 

“We’d only be responsible for the theft. The crime of breaking into the mailbox comes under federal government,” Allen says.

 

He adds that the surge in the number of mailing service stores, such as UPS, are a direct result of mail theft.

 

“In addition to the post office, many other places now rent out mailboxes. The growth of that industry is because of this issue,” he says.

 

After their incident, the Benders, somewhat reluctantly, are following that trend, too.

 

“Now we are delivering our mail to the post office because we don’t want to put it in the mailbox,” Peyton says. “You know, that’s an extra step to put in your day.”

 

 

 

If you suspect your mail has been stolen, Officer Allen urges you to contact the police.

 


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