Suspects in a massive mail theft operation have been busted by Woodbury Police.
The department announced Tuesday that a shoplifting crime led investigators to the suspects, who were believed to be driving an orange Ford Focus connected to a "substantial mail theft ring."
The suspects were eventually captured after evading police on multiple occasions, and are now facing charges including mail theft, fleeing in a motor vehicle, possession of stolen vehicles, drug possession, identity theft, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of stolen license plates, and driving violations.
Discovered in the bust were "thousands of pieces of mail" in addition to stolen guns, a stolen car, stolen checks and identities and illegal drugs.
Police say they stole mail from all over the metro "so it will take time to return everything to its rightful owners."
Investigators determined that the suspects were proud of their operation, which they dubbed "flagging" as they would search for mailboxes with flags up, which signal outgoing mail and possibly cash or checks.
"They were proud of their craft, to the point one even had a custom T-shirt made which was recovered in one of the suspect vehicles," Woodbury PD said in the release.
Here are some tips on how to prevent mail theft, according to Woodbury Public Safety.
- Hand-deliver sensitive materials to a mail carrier.
- Avoid raising the flag to signal outgoing mail.
- Considering getting a P.O. Box or mailbox that locks.
- Have packages delivered to a business address.
- Have a neighbor get the package when it's delivered.
- Don't let mail sit in your mailbox overnight.
- If going out of town, notify your post office or have a trusted source collect your mail.