10 people identified, located in connection with reports of stolen mail in Hartford
HARTFORD — The Hartford Police Department says ten people have been identified and located in connection with reports of mail being stolen from mailboxes in Hartford. All ten individuals are from Miami, Florida.
According to police, between March 2 and March 5, they received five reports of mail being stolen from mailboxes within the city. The victims were either expecting a credit card to be delivered — or had credit cards fraudulently canceled without their consent and news ones subsequently mailed without their knowledge.
Police believe the suspects obtained credit card data, and thereby the known address of the victims, via the “dark web.”
Officials say between Feb. 29 and March 5, the suspects would drive by the known victims’ homes in the City of Hartford, collecting the new cards from their mailbox, and then use them to make fraudulent purchases at various stores in southeast Wisconsin — mostly Sam’s Clubs, where they would purchase a large number of gift cards.
On March 4 alert citizens in the area were able to obtain images of the suspects and the vehicle they were operating, and reported it the Hartford Police Department.
It was later learned that this vehicle was a rental vehicle from Miami, Florida.
On March 5, with the assistance of the rental car company, officers from the Hartford Police Department were able to obtain a real-time location of the suspect vehicle used in the theft from mailboxes. The location of the vehicle was determined to be in northern Illinois.
The rental car agency was able to keep Hartford officers informed of the location of the vehicle, while Hartford officers and dispatch made contact with the local law enforcement agency in Illinois, advising them of the location of the vehicle, and the criminal behavior it was believed to be involved in.
Hartford officers and dispatch were able to coordinate with the rental car company and direct the local law enforcement agency in Illinois to the suspects’ last known location.
With the assistance of officials in Illinois, the suspect vehicle was located at a residence, along with two other rental vehicles, also suspected of being involved in the same type of criminal behavior.
Investigators were able to locate and identify ten individuals from the Miami, Florida area as being associated with the vehicles and with the residence they were located at.
Further investigation revealed several pieces of mail from Hartford, along with pieces of mail from addresses in Hartford that had not made a complaint regarding missing mail.
Those victims were identified, spoken to, and eventually filed reports similar in nature to the original five reported to the Hartford Police Department.
Additionally, investigators were able to locate surveillance footage of the suspects using the cards fraudulently in southeast Wisconsin.
Investigators also recovered a large number of gift cards, cash, computers, cell phones, and a semi-automatic handgun. The United States Postal Inspector Service was contacted and is assisting in the investigation of the suspects and their activities.
These cases are still an active investigation at this time.