The mailbox along S. Pine Street where the theft and attack occurred. (Sept. 11, 2012/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -
A Spartanburg man said a stranger stole his mail and threatened him with a weapon on Monday, according to Spartanburg County deputies.
Deputies were called to a location on South Pine Street about 1:30 p.m. after a business owner said his employee was threatened when he tried to stop a man from taking their mail.
The victim said he saw the unknown black male take the mail from the mailbox and he said to him, "Hey, you have my mail. Can I have it, please?" Then he reached for the mail, according to a sheriff's office report.
The report said the suspect then took out a large box cutter, made a slashing motion and ran off with the mail towards Old Petrie Road.
The suspect was described as 5'9" tall, weighing about 150 pounds, was wearing a black knit toboggan-style stocking cap, a black waist-length windbreaker, dark pants and sneakers, according to the report. The report said he also had a dark beard and "bad teeth."
Deputies searched the area with search dogs, but no arrests were made.
Lt. Tony Ivey, with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, said the mail thefts are on the rise because thieves can take money from someone and they often don't realize it until days later.
The business owner whose mail was stolen said methamphetamine addicts have been targeting mailboxes along South Pine Street.
Deputies said for a thief, the mailbox is a treasure trove filled with your personal information. They are able to get ahold of billing information and even account numbers.
"Maybe there's credit cards or checks that come to us in the mail," said Ivey. "They can grab those and wreak havoc on someone's identity or bank account before they even know they've been a victim."
Deputies said it's best to mail off payments and any other sensitive information at the post office. And if nothing else, don't leave mail lingering in mailboxes because somewhere there's a thief looking to cut the middle man out and go straight for your identity.
Mail theft is a felony and can lead to at least a year behind bars if convicted.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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