Police in Newark are warning residents to be alert after four people have reported checks being stolen from the mail.

The victims told police they mailed personal checks to pay bills, etc., and dropped them in blue U.S. Post Office mailboxes around Newark, according to Lt. Andrew Rubin, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department. Someone stole the checks, altered them to increase their value and cashed them at locations around the country.

In total, more than $57,000 was stolen.

Rubin noted that police are not sure whether the checks were stolen while they were in the mailbox, on the way to the post office, at the post office or after they left the post office. All four victims used different mailboxes, he said.

NPD is working with the United States Postal Inspection Service to investigate the thefts, which occurred over the past five weeks.

Rubin encouraged residents to use electronic payments when possible to avoid becoming a victim of check theft.

Any Newark resident who has been a victim of mail theft and has not reported the incident to police should contact Lt. Fred Nelson at fnelson@newark.de.us or 302-366-7100, ext. 3119.

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