Business owners on edge over Highway 280 mail theft

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Business owners on Highway 280 are on edge after the discovery of stolen mail in a suspect vehicle. Investigators are instructing them to keep a close eye on their accounts and report anything suspicious.

Deputies and agents are still digging to find out how far this goes. They aren’t releasing how many pieces of mail were found or which businesses were affected.

They did confirm that the mail is from businesses all up and down the Highway 280 corridor, and that in the wrong hands it could cause some big complications. Victims of identity theft often don’t find out until they are alerted by a credit monitoring service or until they try to get a loan.

The good news is that an alert deputy caught it early after a traffic stop in the parking lot of a business near the Jefferson and Shelby County line, according to investigators.

“We’ve received phone calls from other businesses and just concerned individuals who want to make sure that they weren’t part of that,” said said Capt. Kevin Turner with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.  “So far we’re doing everything we can to do to contact those businesses and inform them and make sure they’re doing their due diligence.”

Turner says anyone who notices a suspicious charge on their account or their business account should investigate and report it.

Greg Waters at MedHelp 280 tells WIAT 42 he doesn’t think they’ve been hit because they haven’t been contacted by law enforcement. In light of the news, Waters says they may not be leaving mail in their mailbox at the end of the day anymore.

“In our mail we may be sending patient information, and so for that to be intercepted is a huge concern,” said Waters.

At the Highway 280 location of Bama Fever Tiger Pride, manager Austin Moore was surprised to hear about the reported mail theft.

“It makes me worry about my mail,” said Moore.

Moore went out to check their mailbox right away. He says everything seems fine, but he’s going to be paying closer attention to their bills and invoices.

“If you don’t know what you’re expecting to get you won’t know if it’s missing,” said Moore. “It could be anyone really, anywhere, and that’s kind of scary.”

“I could see someone trying to steal that and trying to get possibly like a routing number and possibly getting your account information whether that’s for cable or you know your electric bill or any of that,” he continued.

The three suspects are all from Georgia according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Some business owners told WIAT 42 they were surprised that anyone would even be after their mail, let alone people from out of state.

The Sheriff’s Office says business owners and residents need to be alert and to be aware that the area has become a target.

They urge people to keep personal belongings out of site in vehicles and not to leave mail sitting in boxes overnight. Turner also recommends that anyone going on vacation puts a hold on their mail until they return to avoid becoming a victim.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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