RAYTOWN, Mo. – An animal shelter in Raytown is trying to figure out how to cover expenses after thieves target them.
Erin Morse wears many hats at “Midwestern Animal ResQ.”
The shelter’s founding director’s latest challenge is to find nearly $30,000 stolen from the association’s bank account.
“We don’t even do that on one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” Morse said.
She recently dropped a check into one of the mail collection boxes at the USPS Post Office located at 10501 E 63rd St.
“Rather than leaving it in a normal mailbox where people can just open it,” Morse said. “That’s why we take the extra step of dropping off our mail at the post office assuming it’s safe.”
But the check never reached its final destination, so she put a “stop payment” on it.
Then Morse learned this week that someone had written three fraudulent checks for $9,400 each, using routing and the animal shelter’s bank account number.
“For the past two days I’ve been trying to figure out how we’re going to cover payroll, how we’re going to cover vet bills, how we’re going to close and reopen our account,” Morse said. .
When she filed a police report, the Raytown Police Department records clerk wrote to her that they had taken some reports for stolen checks at that post office.
On social media there are similar stories. Robyn Burky thinks her missing check is in the wrong hands.
“I’m really concerned that someone could still create fraudulent checks that would affect my account,” Burky said.
KSHB 41 News contacted the USPS, who put us in touch with Paul Shade, a postal inspector from Overland Park.
He said the USPS is aware of the thefts occurring at their 63rd Street branch in Raytown.
According to Shade, there is a team of about a dozen postal inspectors investigating such cases in the Kansas City area.
People can report mail theft to USPS by calling 1-877-876-2455 and clicking option #3.
They can also do it online at usps.com/postal Inspectors, or the Postal Inspection Service. website.
Additionally, they will also want to reach out to local authorities.
Victims think the USPS isn’t doing enough to fix the problem and is letting its customers down.
“I certainly think so. I mean, if we’re putting it right in the mail and those checks are sort of getting into the hands of criminals, then I would say absolutely,” Morse said.
Burky agreed with Morse.
“It doesn’t look like a solution is in place and so yes, they’re definitely letting us down,” she said. “You know, locals want to be able to trust the Postal Service and rely on them.”
“Frankly, I don’t know the safest way to send mail at this point,” Morse said.
Shade also shared this statement with KSHB 41 News:
“The U.S. Postal Service delivers nearly 130 billion pieces of mail annually to more than 163 million customers at some of the most affordable postage rates in the world. Postal Inspectors are the federal branch responsible for enforcing the law that is in place to investigate reports of mail theft and other mail-related crimes.”
USPS also offered the following tips to prevent mail theft:
- Do not leave incoming or outgoing mail in your mailbox. You can greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim by simply deleting your mail from your mailbox every day.
- If you’re not home when your mail or packages are due, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail. If you’ll be away for a long time, another great option is to have the post office hold your mail while you’re away. You can ask this online.
- When you expect a package to be delivered, track the shipment
- Additionally, you can also Sign up for email and text alerts
- If you do not receive a check or other valuable mail you expect, contact the issuing agency
- If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone you do business with by mail.
- Give outgoing mail to your postman or send it to the post office, an official USPS blue collection box on the street, or a secure receptacle at your workplace
- Never send cash or coins by post. Use checks or money orders. Ask your bank for “secure” checks that are harder to alter
- Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted neighbors, you can monitor everyone’s mailboxes and residences