ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Charles County Police department (SCCPD) is investigating a series of mail thefts from area churches.
SCCPD said thefts they know of date all the way back to June and August, the mail taken included checks actually delivered to the church by the postal service.
SCCPD Captain David Tiefenbrunn said it started with reports from Dardenne Presbyterian Church and since posting photos of the suspects, the list has grown to several churches including one in Chesterfield.
“Unbeknownst to the parishioners and the church...that these checks have basically been in limbo because the parishioner believes that the church had cashed them...and the church had no idea that some of the parishioners had even sent some of these checks," Capt. Tiefenbrunn said. "So it was a combination of tuition payments, just donations to the church."
Tiefenbrunn said the suspects were seen driving these vehicles:
- Newer model Mercedes ML350, silver in color, unknown state temporary plate of 501304F4.
- Newer 4-door BMW sedan, black in color, no rear plate and a front International plate of MDT5612.
- Newer Honda minivan, unknown state temporary plate of 94153L-9.
“Sometimes they'll pull all the mail out and kind of look through it and put some of the mail back, that obviously doesn't look like a check or anything like that," Capt. Tiefenbrunn said. "Sometimes they just pull up, grab everything that's in the mailbox, and leave."
"But it's the same people and they've made several trips back, so they're feeling pretty comfortable that they've gotten away with this,” Tiefenbrunn said.
Tiefenbrunn said so far $40,000 worth of fraudulent checks have been cashed and they’re trying to figure out exactly how they cashed the checks.
“A lot of times we find the checks have actually been altered, these checks do not appear to be altered," Capt. Tiefenbrunn said. "So we're curious as to where they're cashing these, the signatures on their back are just really sloppy, it's no particular name, or anything."
If you know any of these people or recognize the car descriptions above call police immediately.
Police also advise if you sent a check to your Dardenne or O’Fallon area church or school check with the staff to make sure they actually received it and if there is an issue report to police, but for now it’s best to hand deliver checks to the church or school.