Hundreds of Stolen Checks Forged, Cashed in D.C. Area

Investigators identify one suspect

By Mark Segraves
|  Thursday, Dec 19, 2013  |  Updated 1:14 AM EDT
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Police in Prince William County say check thieves have gotten away with tens of thousands of dollars by washing stolen checks. The checks were taken from mailboxes in Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

Mark Segraves

Police in Prince William County say check thieves have gotten away with tens of thousands of dollars by washing stolen checks. The checks were taken from mailboxes in Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

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Thieves targeting mailboxes in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia have stolen tens of thousands of dollars, but authorities revealed a big clue Wednesday afternoon.

“We have a woman that we are looking for,” said Diane Richardson of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. “We have a warrant for her, and she is involved in forging checks that have been stolen from private mailboxes.”

One group visits residential neighborhoods and goes through mailboxes, taking any mail left for a post office employee to pick up.

That group gives the mail to another group, which goes through the mail looking for checks that haven’t been cashed, such as utility payments.

That’s where Crystal Renee Brown comes in, according to the sheriff’s office.

“She’ll forge it,” Richardson said. “She’ll erase the name that’s on the check, put her own name on it and then go to a bank and cash it.”

Investigators identified Brown, 39, when a suspicious bank teller refused to cash one of the checks and Brown left so quickly she left her driver’s license behind, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities also are looking for a woman seen with Brown.

Authorities in the region are working to determine whether there are connections between hundreds of cases.

“Since the summertime, we have been made award of about 300 cases from Charles County, Prince George’s County, some areas in Virginia and Washington, D.C.,” Richardson said.

A task force is looking in to the cases, and the U.S. Postal Service is involved in the investigation.

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