Troubleshooter Alert: Neighbor caught stealing mail and opening credit cards
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - What looked at first to be a friendly woman riding around the neighborhood on her bike turned out to be someone trying to steal from a lot of people.
It turned into a complicated case with hundreds of victims. The so-called friendly neighbor was staking out people's mailboxes. Lots of neighbors were affected by the mailbox thefts by that woman on a bike. It cost one resident nearly $1,000.
Faye Guenther said, “I was becoming suspicious that my mail, something was going on with my mailbox and I couldn't figure out what it was.”
Her instincts were right, “She was a nice lady. She was on her bicycle; she seemed so nice.”
But her neighbor, Kimberly Ann Rockwell, was actually stealing Faye's mail and opening additional credit card accounts.
Ana Weller, a US postal inspector, said, “She would call pretending to be one of the neighbors. She had obtained enough information online to be able to impersonate them and know what their date of birth was, mother's name, say that her card was lost or stolen and request a new card.”
Postal inspectors said Rockwell would then retrieve the card out of the mail before victims came home. The neighbors didn't know their mail was being stolen because she wasn't taking everything. She would only take exactly what it was that she was looking for.
Faye wasn't alone. When inspectors started getting complaints about missing mail clues soon led them to Rockwell. She was initially arrested on previous charges but while in jail the case came together when officials ordered copies of her jail recordings.
She was advising her daughter to hide her address book and to check the mail every day. This led authorities to get a search warrant, which showed more than 250 victims.
Weller said, “We actually ended up finding notebooks what were filled with what's called “profiles” and profiles are a list of victim's name, address, typically they also get social security numbers, date of birth and mother's maiden name.”
Inspectors said it was important for people to protect their mail; do not let it sit in the box for days. Also, people should get their free annual credit report.
Two years later, Faye was still working to correct her credit, “It takes a lot of time to correct, you know, your credit cards."
Kimberly Rockwell pleaded guilty to stealing the mail, stolen property and identity theft charges. She's sentenced to spending three years in jail and ordered to pay restitution to victims.