RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - Caught on tape: A thief-on-wheels driving up and down the streets of a Rio Rancho neighborhood stealing mail right out of people's mailboxes.
Even driving in the middle of the afternoon, passing as many houses as he passed, the suspect may have gone unnoticed if it weren't for the trail he left behind.
The driver seen in home surveillance video from Monday is caught fishing out checks from people's mailboxes in a Rio Rancho neighborhood.
Police say the suspect drove for blocks in the middle of the afternoon, stealing from at least four people including Clark Kesler who had just mailed off a check for the phone bill.
“We wouldn't have even known, and we probably would've gotten a done bill saying we hadn't paid the bill,” Kesler said.
It was quite literally a red flag that tipped Kesler off, his red mailbox flag, which was still up to signal the postal worker to pick up outgoing mail despite the fact that his mailbox door was sitting wide open.
“Then, in a little while, a neighbor of couple blocks down called and asked me if we had had something in the mailbox because she found a torn open envelope with our return address on it,” Kesler said.
When Kesler drove through the neighborhood himself, a trail of more torn envelopes led him to neighbors like Bill Hubbell.
“[Kesler] found this envelope empty laying on the street, even with the stamp removed,” Hubbell said. “Someone apparently took the check.”
It was a check for $16 that Hubbell had to pay $35 to cancel.
“[The suspect] is just going from house to house. He crisscrosses from one side of the street to the other,” Rio Rancho Police Officer Janet Garcia said after viewing the surveillance video.
Police are trying to track down the mail thief seen in the video.
“We just ask the public to keep their eyes open,” Garcia said.
In the meantime, Hubbell said he won't be taking chances with checks in his mailbox anymore.
“We will be making more trips to the post office now,” he said.
While police know of four victims, they say there could be more out there who just haven't realized it yet.
Police believe the driver was a man, but it's not clear from the video if he had any passengers with him in the small red car.
The suspect would only face misdemeanor larceny charges for now although Rio Rancho police say they notified the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General to see if it wants to pick it up as a federal case.
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