While high-tech data breaches grab headlines, a much simpler form of identity theft is also a widespread problem. Thieves are targeting mailboxes to get a hold of valuable personal information. Whether it's a sophisticated theft ring or just a crime of opportunity, here are a few recent cases that all started with stolen mail.
Two California Mail Theft Suspects On The Run
Authorities are on the hunt for two women suspected of operating a mail theft ring in Santa Barbara, Calif., KEYT reports.
Sireena Dominguez and Ashley Barnett are accused of stealing credit card information from mailboxes and using it to rent hotel rooms that they then also stole from.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff's office says they discovered Dominguez and Barnett are suspects in similar crimes throughout northern Santa Barbara County.
The women are still at large and the Sheriff's Department is working with the US Postal Inspector and other law enforcement agencies on the investigation.
New Mexico Mail Thief Gets 20 Years
A woman accused of targeting more than 300 mailboxes for identity theft will serve 20 years in prison, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Kristine Turner received the maximum time, plus a 13-year suspended sentence. She was charged with auto, residential and commercial burglaries, forgery and identity theft.
Five in Colorado Accused in ID Theft Ring
Five suspects were charged with stealing mail throughout the Denver area as part of an identity theft scheme, ABC 7 Denver reports.
Michael Hope, Shannon Kramer, Matthew and Robert Hickcox and Justin Kormos allegedly forged documents, created fake IDs, cashed checks and made purchases with the stolen information.
Authorities say they found bags of stolen and forged documents and forgery equipment and an entire blue USPS mailbox at the suspects' homes.
Kormos, Kramer and Matthew Hickcox have been arrested, while Michael Hope and Robert Hickcox remain at large.
Idaho Postmaster Gets Jail Time for Mail Theft
A former postmaster in Idaho City was sentenced to 180 days in jail for stealing mail on the job, KBOI 2 reports.
Prosecutors say Teresa Belau, who had been postmaster since 1999, stole a $5 gift card from the mail that was part of a sting operation after customers complained of missing mail.
Belau had 170 days of the sentence suspended so she will serve 10 days. Additionally, she was sentenced to two years unsupervised probation and a $402 fine.
Tennessee Woman Arrested for Debit Card Theft
A Tennessee woman is charged with 17 counts of identity theft and 18 counts of property theft, according to the Johnson City Press.
Kathy Sue Fair allegedly stole a debit card from a mailbox and used it throughout the area. Fair was arrested and is being held on bond.