Memorial Villages Police Department - Houston Texas
Serving the cities of Bunker Hill, Piney Point, and Hunters Creek in Houston, Texas
  Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2021
From the Office of the Chief of Police

Unfortunately, we continue to see residents who are the victims of mail theft resulting in “washed” and forged checks. Mail is either being stolen/intercepted at an outgoing US Post Office mailbox or somewhere within the US Postal Service routing system. Mailboxes that seem to have a higher likelihood of mail being stolen include the mailboxes at Benignus Road and Memorial Drive and those in the areas of Woodway and Voss and San Felipe and Voss.   

Criminals are specifically looking for outgoing bills, installment payments and tax payments. They are taking the checks and washing them, changing the payee and the amount of the check. Because I am not confident that taking your mail directly to a post office will be 100% safe due to the theft of mail within the postal system itself, you may want to consider setting up electronic payment processing where you provide direct payment to the utility, tax collector or business though a verified routing number process. If you want to continue to use traditional mailing processes, you may want to consider keeping a lower balance in your checking account and then transferring funds only after you have issued a check and closer to the time of the expected payment arrival to the payee.

The cases that we are currently seeing are primarily checks that were originally made out for amounts ranging from $10- $2,500 being washed and changed to amounts as high as $50,000.  Because many people have check overwrite protection services that link checking accounts to savings or money market accounts these high amount checks will clear. I believe that many banks can limit that amount or not have it default to a high balance money market account. The Postal Service is aware of the current problem and their inspectors are working the cases. In the meantime, please continue to closely monitor your bank statements and be on the look-out for both unauthorized and check postings for differing amounts of money than originally written for.     

As you will see below, criminal activity is on the rise throughout the metro area and across the country. Mail Theft, Forgery, Fraud, Check Washing and False Filings for Unemployment continue to increase and plague the region. We will continue to do our part and attempt to hold these criminals responsible for their crimes and disruption to the community. Our detectives spend hours each week writing subpoenas for banking records, IP addresses, account information, invoices and video footage to financial institutions, banks, credit unions and businesses.  At meetings this week, one with law enforcement executives and another with area investigators everyone is seeing the same patterns and while we are all equally as frustrated, we all agree we will not be deterred in our efforts to hold these criminals accountable.

We will continue to inform you about the crimes and methodologies that we learn about and that we investigate. Our intent is never to embarrass anyone who is a victim of a crime, but to help educate everyone else, so hopefully you will not become a victim. 

This past week we have had a new problem crop up on Warrenton just south of Memorial. Parents who do not want to wait in the student pick-up line are stopping and/or parking on Warrenton blocking driveways, damaging yards, and restricting traffic. Officers have been out there moving vehicles and attempting to keep the roadway safe. This week was about education, next week improperly parked vehicles will be cited and if blocking driveways towed.

Officers have also been out addressing specific areas of the villages in reference to speeding complaints. Some of the areas receiving extra attention include Ripple Creek, Blalock and Voss between Memorial and Beinhorn. If any of these roads are a part of your regular commuting routes, please be extra careful as our enforcement efforts are being stepped up.

The “Birdies Fore Blues” Golf Tournament and fund raiser is almost sold out! If you want to join us on February 18th, 2021 you need to reserve your place soon before we max out. Memorial Villages Area residents and students, Hunter and Harrison Lee are the event organizers and co-chairmen for the event. You can contact either one to sign-up at hunter@leeinvestments.com or harrison@leeinvestments.com

Have a good weekend. Chief Ray Schultz rschultz@mvpdtx.org

 

Weekly Crime Report

Hunters Creek

1/22/21 at 1445 Hours. 10700 Block of Memorial Drive. Burglary of a Motor Vehicle. The victim reported that upon returning to his vehicle parked in the parking lot, he found the rear window broken out. He had parked the vehicle after arriving from a bank located in Bellaire. A review of the ALPR system showed the victim arrive in the area while being followed by a white and black Jeep Cherokee displaying a temporary paper license tag.

Detectives checked the Bellaire ALPR cameras and located the same vehicle following the victim after he had left a bank there.  It appears the suspect followed the victim from the bank and then broke into his vehicle after he parked it at the club. A temporary license plate number was seen on the ALPR however, the registration on the tag does not belong to the Jeep. Detectives processed the vehicle for fingerprints and obtained additional video surveillance footage from nearby. The investigation is on-going. The temporary tag displayed on the Jeep has been added to the vehicle hot list.

1/25/21 at 1530 Hours. 8400 Block of Katy Freeway. Public Intoxication. Officers observed a male subject stumbling and having difficulty maintaining his balance. Upon speaking with the subject, he stated that he had 11 prior DWI’s and was told by his attorney to not answer any questions. The subject was heavily intoxicated. The subject was placed under arrest by officers. The spouse of the 58-year-old male was contacted and she responded to pick him up. The subject was issued a citation for public intoxication.

1/26/21 at 1000 Hours. 1-100 Block of Willowend. Mail Theft.  The victim reported that she has not received any mail since 1/20/21. She usually receives mail daily and believes that her mail has been taken. A report was generated, and the victim was provided information about registering for US Mail notification services.

1/28/21 at 0030 Hours. 200 Block of Voss. Unlawful Use of a Stolen Motor Vehicle.  Officers were alerted to a stolen motor vehicle entering the villages on Voss. As officers arrived in the area, they observed the vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Upon seeing the police unit, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed as the officer was making a U-turn. The vehicle entered the construction zone near Riverbend at which time it lost control and overturned. 2 subjects quickly exited the vehicle and took off running towards Second Baptist Church. Officers arrived and assisted 2 other subjects who were trapped in the overturned vehicle. Officers took those 2 juveniles (age 15) into custody.  The juveniles stated that they did not know the subjects who had run from officers and that had just met them at a gas station where they were offered a ride.  The parents of the juveniles were contacted and arrived to take custody of their children. The other 2 subjects were not located. Detectives have taken over the investigation and will determine the appropriate charges. The vehicle was recovered and towed from the scene.  

Bunker Hill

1/24/21 at 0215 Hours. Surrey Lane at Strey. Assault by Contact. Officers were dispatched to the area in reference to a number of males involved in an altercation. Officers arrived on the scene however, the subjects had already left the area. Subsequent calls lead officers to other locations in the villages where a number of youths were located and interviewed. Officers learned that a fight had occurred after a group of juveniles arrived in the area of a party. The disagreement had started over social media posts and ended up in a physical altercation when the two groups met outside. Officers identified the parties involved and photographed the injuries (minor). There were no weapons involved in the incident. Officers followed up with the parents of the home where the party had been held. Detectives have taken over the investigation for review and consideration of any charges.

1/25/21 at 0800 Hours. 200 Block of Vanderpool. Forgery. The victim learned about a recent use of his debt card that his account showed to be overdrawn.  Further examination found a check that he had written and mailed at a mailbox at Benignus and Memorial had been intercepted, washed, reissued and e-deposited into an account at a US Navy FCU. Information about the check was obtained and provided to detectives for their follow up investigation.

1/25/21 at 1000 Hours. 300 Block of Tamerlane. Forgery.  The victim reported that he attempted to use a credit card at an area business, and it was declined. The victim then learned that a payment that he had mailed to his credit card company had not been received. The victim located the check in question; however, it had been washed and reissued to a subject whom the victim did not know. The check had been mailed at a US Postal Mailbox located at the shopping center located at 8400 Katy Freeway. Information about the check and the payee was obtained and provided to Detectives for their follow up investigation.

1/26/21 at 1000 Hours. 11900 Block of Cobblestone. Forgery. The victim reported that he was notified that his mortgage payment had not yet been received by his mortgage company. The victim had mailed the payment at the US Mailbox located at 12500 Memorial in late December. An inquiry into his account found that the check had been intercepted, washed and reissued to a male subject whom the victim did not know. Information about the check and the newly listed payee was obtained and provided to detectives for their follow up investigation. 

1/28/21 at 1345 Hours. 12000 Block of Taylorcrest. Identity Theft. The victim reported that he was reviewing his credit report when he discovered an outstanding debt. Further investigation showed it was for a utility bill at an apartment on Eldridge. The victim has never lived on Eldridge or had an account with the utility company. Information about the account and address was collected and provided to detectives for their follow up investigation.

1/29/21 at 1200 Hours. 1-100 block of Hickory Ridge. Fraud/Identity Theft. The victim was contacted by her bank to verify a check that had been presented for cashing. The victim had not written a check for the amount in question. Further inquiry found that the check in question had been intercepted somewhere while in the custody of the US Mail service, washed and reissued. The check had been mailed at a mailbox located at Benignus and Memorial. A stop payment was issued for the check and others mailed at the same time and location. Information was provided to detectives for their investigation.   

Piney Point

1/24/21 at 1130 Hours. 1-100 Stillforest. Fraud.  The victim reported that upon examining a bank account statement a check was found to have been written and cashed that the victim did not write or authorize. The bank is out of state and one that the victim seldomly uses.  Information about the check was obtained and provided to detectives for their follow up investigation. 

1/26/21 at 1600 Hours. 1-100 Block of Stillforest. Criminal Trespass. Officers were notified of a suspect attempting to contact a resident at his place of employment who had been ordered off of the property by security. The subject then stated that she was going to the victim’s home in Piney Point. Officers were monitoring the property when the suspect arrived.  She was issued a criminal trespass order and removed from the area.

1/27/21 at 1215 Hours. 200 Block of Piney Point. Identity Theft. The victim learned that unknown person(s) had purchased 10 cell phones using his personal information. A check of his credit report found multiple credit inquiries and 3 new credit cards that the victim did not request or know about. The cards had been issued to a Euless, Texas address. Information about the accounts was obtained and provided to detectives for their follow up investigation.

Texas Workforce Commission – Unemployment Fraud Filings

1/25/21 at 0930 Hours. 1-100 Block of Dunnam. Bunker Hill. Fraudulent filing of Unemployment benefits utilizing the victims Information. 

1/26/21 at 0845 Hours. 12100 Block of Tara. Bunker Hill. Fraudulent filing of Unemployment benefits utilizing the victims Information. 

1/29/21 at 1245 Hours. 200 Block of Carruthers. Hunters Creek.  Fraudulent filing of Unemployment benefits utilizing the victims Information.  

 
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