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checks that were originally made out for amounts ranging from $10- $2,500 being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
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a good weekend. Chief Ray Schultz email@example.com
Weekly Crime Report
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.
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
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
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
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
1/25/21 at 0930 Hours. 1-100 Block of Dunnam. Bunker
Hill. Fraudulent filing of Unemployment benefits utilizing the victims
1/26/21 at 0845 Hours. 12100 Block of Tara. Bunker
Hill. Fraudulent filing of Unemployment benefits utilizing the victims
1/29/21 at 1245 Hours. 200 Block of Carruthers.
Hunters Creek. Fraudulent filing of
Unemployment benefits utilizing the victims Information.