LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Four people are accused of an elaborate scheme to steal mail from unsuspecting victims.
Detectives said the operation they dismantled could be just the tip of the iceberg.
So far, 10 victims have been identified in Clermont and Minneola neighborhoods.
Investigators said all of them had their mail stolen by the thieves, who then cashed in with their stolen checks.
Detectives told Channel 9’s Kenneth Craig they still have a long way to go in the investigation and some people may not even know they’re victims.
Deputies believe the alleged thieves--Cristal Dominguez, Dennis McCarthy, Shaun Ramsey and Kyla Reaves--have been at the scheme for a while.
Claudette Delgado said she lives in one of the neighborhoods that was targeted and never thought she would have to worry about her mail being stolen.
“I've been here almost nine years, never had a problem like this,” she said.
Investigators said the four suspects have been going street to street stealing mail which included some outgoing checks inside.
“A lot of work that goes into something like this,” Sgt. Jim Vachon with the Lake County Sheriff’s office said.
Deputies said the suspects would use a chemical to strip those checks of everything but the account number.
“They would also produce a false identification, rewrite the check, and cash it,” Vachon said.
When residents in Clermont and Minneola started reporting missing mail, they were able to give deputies a description of a suspicious black Dodge Charger that was spotted in many of the neighborhoods.
When authorities later stopped it they found some of the stolen checks in a nearby hotel room.
Detectives don’t know how much money the group stole, or even how many victims are out there.