The mailbox bandit(s) confirmed victim total is now up to 24 Wiltonians and rising and could stand at almost $100,000 in altered check amounts.
Wilton Police Spokesman Lieutenant Don Wakeman said Tuesday that there are another seven residents reporting mail theft but whose checks have not yet come back as altered. The total amount of those checks, around $21,000, in additional to the $61,000 total of the already reported altered checks, is evidence of a widespread plan of forgery with more victims coming forward every day.
"Victims are still coming forward on a daily basis," Wakeman said as a potential 25th victim was being interviewed at police headquarters. "The victims that we've spoken with so far...we're talking from late March through mid-April that they dropped their mail. So whether we're going to find that there's other mail that was stolen, say, in the second half of April remains to be seen."
A new development in the case, according to Wakeman, is that the criminal or criminals behind the scheme are not altering the stolen checks but, rather, producing counterfeit reproductions of those checks based on the ones they steal out of the mail. They generally leave the amount of the checks the same on both but alter the name field, using a series of Asian names.
"It looks like they're creating a whole new counterfeit check using [the residents'] information," Wakeman said. "The checks that are being created are very close to the original checks."
The vast majority of the checks were stolen after being dropped in the outside drop boxes at the Wilton Post Office. However, there have been five victims whose mail was stolen after being deposited inside the post office, mailed from their homes and even one that was mailed from a UPS store in Wilton Center.
Wilton remains the only town in the area to be affected by the plot. Police, meanwhile, are working with the various banks where some of the counterfeit checks were cashed. Wakeman said last week that some of those locations were in New York state, though he could not divulge more information.
"We're still working with the U.S. Postal Inspector and we have developed some information jointly with him that we're hopeful will allow us to move forward with the case," Wakeman said.