Police and U.S. Postal Inspectors have arrested a woman accused of stealing mail from all over the metroplex.
Police said someone spotted Tracy Jo Rhine, 38, leaving a Valley Ranch apartment complex with a big stack of mail. Irving officers stopped Rhine near the Oaks of Valley Ranch apartment complex on East Valley Ranch Boulevard early Wednesday morning.
In a criminal complaint, investigators said they found 300 pieces of stolen mail in Rhine's car, from 9 cities across the metroplex, including credit cards, personal checks, debit cards, and bank statements Officers also found tools in the woman's car that were apparently used to pry open the locks on apartment complex mailboxes.
In a down economy postal inspectors said they would not be surprised to see an uptick in mail theft this year. They offer one piece of advice to protect yourself: don't leave your mail in your mailbox overnight, even if the box has a lock on it.
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"Most of these criminals work in the dead of the night," said Amanda McMurray of the US Postal Inspection Service. "And if you remove your mail once a day, every day that's pretty much a guarantee that you will not get it stolen."
Postal Inspectors are in the process of contacting people who had mail stolen.
Rhine faces federal charges of mail theft. If convicted, each piece of stolen mail can carry up to five years in prison.