ELKRIDGE, Md. - Howard County police have arrested two people for stealing outgoing mail from residential mailboxes.
Clifton Gardner, 27, of Upper Marlboro, and Mariam Bah, 25, of District Heights, were both charged with seven counts of theft. Bah also was charged with possession of marijuana.
Police said the an Elkridge resident spotted the suspects stealing his mail and discarding the envelopes. He called police with the vehicle description and tag number. Officers located the car and arrested the occupants.
The arrests come following a recent spike in mail theft cases in the area, including in Howard and Anne Arundel counties. In each case, police said, a suspect looks for mailboxes with red flags up, indicating there is outgoing mail in the box to be picked up. The suspect steals checks from the outgoing mail, alters the payee's information and then cashes the victim's checks.
Police are investigating whether Gardner and Bah may have been involved in other cases.
Police are encouraging residents to visit their nearest post office when sending items or use the large blue USPS collection boxes found in residential neighborhoods and shopping centers. Residents also may want to consider paying bills online through a verified banking web site.