Rollingwood police bust mail theft ring - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Rollingwood police bust mail theft ring

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Rollingwood police say they've taken down a mail theft ring that has been preying on residents in Western Travis County for a year. One of the victims is out $40,000.

Officer Joel Martin has a box full of mail to go through. The names on the envelopes he says are all victims of an extensive mail theft ring.

"We've got names, social security numbers, date of births, where people work, their average daily balance in their bank accounts, they've all been able to take. All of this came from people's mailboxes," said Martin.

Martin says on Tuesday Travis County deputies called him when two women identified as Sarah Chomistek and Suzan Tobar attempted to cash a fraudulent check at a Chase bank off Bee Cave Road.

Martin then executed a search warrant at the hotel room that the women shared with a man identified as Christopher Young. In addition to the mail, Martin found everything needed to make checks.

The three suspects are now in jail charged with multiple counts of theft, forgery and credit card abuse.

"The middle of the night is usually their time frame for going out," said Martin. "If your flag's up you know you've got outgoing mail, they're going to take your mail. If your flag's down, you've got some new mail, it could be credit cards, credit card offers, they will act on those credit card offers because they already have your social security, date of birth, everything they need."

Leigh Stein just learned she was one of the victims.

"We have two small kids and it's scary," said Stein.

She says there were signs.

"We got some chase fraud alert emails about somebody trying to charge something on one of our credit cards," said Stein. "My husband then got an alert that someone was trying to file a tax return in his name but we didn't put the two together."

Stein isn't aware of any money missing from her accounts.

Martin says one of the victims he's identified had $21,000 charged to his credit card. Another victim is out at least 40,000 and she's 93 years old.

"It's sad because that's over half of what she's got put away for her housing for the rest of her life. It's hard for us to because everybody at this department knows her and it breaks our heart," said Martin.

The victim count is estimated at 50. All live in the western portion of Travis County. Martin thinks the ring had been in operation for a year.

Martin expects more victims and more arrests, "We know their organization. We know what they're doing. And every single person that we find that has this we're gonna come get."

If you feel that you may be a theft victim, contact your local law enforcement agency or email jmartin@cityofrollingwood.com.

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