COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Columbia Police say it’s one of the more unusual crimes they’ve had to work. Thieves have been caught on tape stealing rent checks out of deposit boxes.
Officers are on the lookout for two women accused of stealing thousands of dollars in rent checks.
Over the last two weeks, police say the suspects have hit four apartment complexes.
The checks, both personal and cashier, are made out to the apartment complexes, so it is unclear how the thieves will benefit.
However, police are concerned the checks might be washed and routing numbers or identities of tenants could be compromised.
Two incidents of the crime occurred on Nov. 1 and 2nd at Brookwood Apartments on Academy Lane.
Two women were seen on camera coming to the night drop box. Police say one woman came the first night and the other one stopped by the following evening.
Each one used something sticky like gum to attach to the envelopes and retrieve them.
Nita Presley, a resident at the Brookwood Apartments, told News 2 she’s not victim– but many of her neighbors are.
“It’s horrible, people work hard for their money,” she said.
After the theft, the complex posted warnings at the office and beside the mailboxes urging residents to be on the lookout for the women.
Out of the four apartment complexes, there were dozens of potential victims. Many were unaware of what happened until they started getting late notices.
Elizabeth Cross, who manages the Columbia Hills Apartments, says residents began complaining after receiving late notices from the office.
“They are having to take time and have the money order re-issued and it costs $15 out of pocket, and it takes us eight weeks to recover our money so there is almost $20,000 sitting there in delinquents for two months,” explained Cross.
Police reports indicate that 19 residents from this complex alone reported their checks stolen from the night drop box.
Cross issued a plea to the suspects: “Stop. It is ridiculous, you have put a lot of families out and this company and you need to pay for what you have done.”
So far, what the thieves plan to do with the checks is unclear.
Police say there is a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. If you recognize the people in this story, contact Columbia Police Department at 931-388-2727.
News is committed to tracking crime across Middle Tennessee. Visit wkrn.com/crimetracker for the latest.