GARLAND COUNTY, Ark. — Thieves in Garland County are looking through your mailboxes for something specific. Mail theft is on the rise all across the Hot Springs area.
According to Hot Springs police, thieves steal checks from mailboxes, forge them, then pass them off at local banks. Now they are looking for one prime suspect and a few people they believe are involved.
"Mostly they’re looking for checks that someone has written to a utility or bill," said Corporal Joey Williams, Hot Springs Police Dept.
Williams believes they’ve heard of several, likely more than 10 cases.
Once they find your check, these thieves are washing them clean, forging them, then cashing them at a bank.
"They take those checks, they wash those checks, which is the process of getting ink off of them, then they rewrite them for whatever they want," Williams said.
Hot Springs police have felony warrants for Gregory Gates, a prime suspect in these mail thefts. He is wanted for breaking into a vehicle, stealing checks, and passing forged checks. They’re also trying to identify two women believed to be involved in passing the stolen checks at banks.
“It looks like they take a majority of the mail, they may discard the mail because all they really want is those checks," Williams said.
Williams recommends finding a secure mail drop or bringing those checks to the post office. To keep yourself safe, don’t ever put checks in your mailbox or leave them in your car because Williams believes anyone can be a target.
“Everywhere, different places, I don’t think there’s any one place they’re looking," Williams said of where these thefts were happening in Garland County.
If you know anything, you can call Hot Springs police anonymously 24-7 at 501-321-6789