Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is demanding action on the rash of mail theft and check “washing” that is occurring through the Dunwoody Post Office.
In a letter written to U.S. Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale and Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb Hull, Warnock outlined several “egregious” incidents involving stolen checks that were mailed from the Dunwoody Post Office.
“According to (Dunwoody Police) Chief (Billy) Grogan, the Dunwoody Police Department has received reports of nearly 50 incidents since just September related to check washing and/or mail theft in the Dunwoody area,” Warnock’s letter said. “My office has also spoken with residents who have been directly targeted by these bad actors. One man mailed a check for everyday expenses using the postal drop box outside the Dunwoody Post Office. Criminal actors altered and then attempted to cash the check for over $9,800.”
In his letter, Warnock cited the Dunwoody Reporter’s coverage of the check-washing scheme. The story, written by Sammie Purcell in August, outlined multiple incidents of checks dropped into boxes both inside the facility and deposited in the outside receptacle being stolen, altered and cashed, often for thousands of dollars more than the original value.
Warnock asked Barksdale and Hull to report to his office by Nov. 30 how many investigations are underway, whether any have been closed, and if there have been any arrests related to the thefts. In addition, he asked if the postal service had made any changes to address the issue.
The incidents don’t seem to be confined only to checks that were mailed from the Dunwoody Post Office. Other people are reporting that checks sent to their residences have been intercepted, altered and cashed.
Wyntercreek resident Nancy Junay had a large check mailed to her home that was never delivered. The sender, she said, had mailed the check on August 28 and the check, with her name replaced, was cashed on Sept. 1.
“You have to wonder if there is something going on with both the post office and the bank working together, in order to have these checks go through so quickly without any kind of hold,” Junay said.
Rob Disner is a Dunwoody resident who has had several checks stolen, despite them being recorded as “on the way” via the U.S. Postal Service’s informed delivery system. On Dunwoody’s community forum Facebook group, he asked other victims to share their experiences.
One person told Disner that he placed five checks in the box outside the Dunwoody Post Office on Sept. 6. One check for $400 was changed to $9,000. Another one, which totaled more than $19,000, had the payee altered. Both cleared the victim’s bank account.
Disner said any attempts to get information from postal authorities have been met with indifference.
“I have two basic questions – are the people stealing the mail from outside the box postal employees or just random criminals, and are the checks that have gone missing from inside the Dunwoody Post office being stolen by employees at that location, or they being taken at other sorting facilities once they leave Dunwoody?”
Disner has recorded a 12-minute You Tube video outlining his thoughts about the thefts. It has more than 1,400 views.