Mailbox thefts lead to 1 arrest

Police: Man took checks while he delivered papers

A newspaper delivery driver was arrested after an investigation found he had taken checks from mailboxes in a Greenwood neighborhood, police said.

Charles G. Ferguson, 31, Greenwood, was arrested on two charges of theft and a charge of forgery.

Ferguson worked as an independent contractor, delivering newspapers for the Daily Journal in some Greenwood neighborhoods.

“We take this situation very seriously,” said Chuck Wells, publisher of the Daily Journal. “We are taking appropriate steps and are terminating our relationship with this independent contractor. We sincerely apologize to our customers for what has happened.”

From July 12 through July 21, Greenwood police had gotten five reports of thefts from mailboxes in the Woodfield subdivision, off Honey Creek and West Curry roads.

In each case, the mail that was stolen included checks and had been stamped and prepared for the U.S. Postal Service to pick up from the mailbox, the report said.

Police began investigating and found on copies of the checks that Ferguson had been changed to the person the check was for, and several of the checks had been deposited into Ferguson’s bank account, the report said.

One of Ferguson’s daily newspaper routes included the Woodfield neighborhood.

A Greenwood Police Department employee who lives in the neighborhood set up a camera on his mailbox and put a gift card inside. The next morning, the gift card was gone and surveillance video showed a dark vehicle with a flashing light stop at the mailbox, the report said.

Police got a search warrant and collected other evidence. Investigators found an envelope from a resident in Woodfield. The resident told police she had written a $100 check to a relative, and that the check had been cashed and Ferguson had signed it, the report said. The resident did not know that the check had been stolen until police contacted her, the report said.

Residents can check with their banks to see if checks they have written have been cashed and altered or signed by someone else, and can contact Greenwood police at 317-882-9191 if they suspect a theft, Greenwood assistant police chief Matt Fillenwarth said.

Fillenwarth said these types of thefts are not rare, and cautioned residents to avoid leaving outgoing mail in their mailboxes, especially overnight. Instead, residents should put mail in a post office drop box, he said.

Ferguson was arrested and told police he had taken the check and the gift card. The gift card was found in his vehicle, the report said.

Ferguson, 490 Northgate Drive, was arrested and taken to the Johnson County jail, where he was released on $3,200 bond. The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office will review the evidence and decide what, if any, charges to file.