Check washing ring hits Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police say several checks have been stolen and washed in one neighborhood.

“It’s scary,” said resident Barbara Creekmore. “It’s like somebody that you don’t even know has touched every personal thing you have ever owned.”

The crime happened in the Fairfield area. Residents noticed some mail missing. Others, like Creekmore, first realized something wasn’t right when she paid a bill and it never made it to the company.

“Why were my utility bills two months late?” she asked.

The bank told her the check was cashed. Someone took her check right out of her mailbox and washed it, meaning they rubbed out who the check was for and wrote in their own name.

Creekmore wasn’t alone. Other neighbors also had mail taken out of their mailboxes.

“We’d be on a walk, my husband and I, and somebody would come up and say, ‘hey have you noticed any mail missing?’” said neighbor Lauren.

Police say it’s happened at least a dozen times. The checks were cashed, costing unsuspecting victims.

“It’s not a lot of money, but it totally adds up,” Creekmore said.

“It’s like something you hear on a Lifetime movie or something,” Lauren said. “Somebody you know is taking the mail and washing checks.”

Neighbors fear the suspect is a fellow neighbor. Police say they’re following lead in hopes of delivering an arrest.

“I think when people are held accountable for the crimes that they commit, they are less likely to commit them again,” Lauren added.

“I’ve had to do a lot of things I did not want to do to safeguard my possessions,” Creekmore said. “I’ve had to do this and I really think that I don’t have a very forgiving heart with this right now.”

You can protect yourself against crimes like this. There are pens that contain specially formulated gel ink that absorbs into the paper’s fibers and can never be washed out.

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