Mailbox Bandit - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mailbox Bandit

Mailbox Bandit

Thanks to some help from a pair of amateur detectives, Cape police now have an alleged mailbox bandit behind bars.

The amateur detectives don't have any police experience, but they may want to consider a job in law enforcement.

For now, police consider the bags of stolen mail - evidence; so it could be a while before it gets sent back out.

Victims say better late than never; they're just grateful to the amateur investigators.

"It wasn't like I saved a life or anything," Stephanie, a quiet twenty something woman says.

She shies away from any credit in tracking down the alleged mailbox bandit, but she and her friend, also called Stephanie, don't shy away from staying vigilant.

Police say the pair may have saved hundreds of people lots of heartache and worry when they chased down 33-year-old Jesica Ann Shaw of Cape Girardeau.

"We heard tires screeching so we ran out on the back deck to see what was going on," she says.

What they saw shook them to the core.

"We came out and saw this Jeep Cherokee by these mailboxes, and she was opening mailboxes taking mail out and throwing them in her seat,' Stephanie remembers.

So the two Stephanies immediately jumped to action.

"All I could find was a permanent marker to write her stuff down on my hand," Stephanie says showing her still inky hand.

That was enough to call in a description to police.

"The cops told us to keep following her but stay far back enough so we weren't in harm's way. So on the interstate we were always a car length or two behind," she says.

"Once she was stopped, there were multiple things. She was driving while intoxicated and all stolen mail was in the car,' she says.

Police say they've recovered checks, credit cards and other valuable documents from victims all the way from Sikeston as far North as St. Louis.

Now investigators only wish everyone cared as much as the two Stephanies did.

"It's not my mail but it's somebody's," Stephanie says.

Jesica Shaw's case will be turned over to the US Attorney's Office for federal prosecution.

If she's found guilty at the federal level, she could face up to five years in prison for every piece of mail she allegedly stole.

In the meantime, if you don't notice anything missing from your mail- you'll find out if you are a victim when the US Postal Service contacts you.

The Postmaster suggests having your mail held until you return from vacation, renting out a mailbox, or pitching in as a community to invest in a collection box that can be locked up.

You can also work with your neighbors to make sure nothing suspicious goes on in your neighborhood.

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