Mail Thief Charges Up Stolen Credit Cards - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/29/04-Smith County

Mail Thief Charges Up Stolen Credit Cards

Melody Cody and her husband were out of state for the past few months. They had someone getting their mail twice a week.

"She'd been here on Tuesday night, and then Saturday morning, she said, there's no mail!" Cody said. "And I said, that's really strange. There's always a piece of advertising or a bill, you know, something in there."

Then Cody received a phone call from the fraud department of Citibank. The company had sent her a new credit card with her new married name. It appeared melody had charged up more than $1200, paying off multiple cell phone bills, buying groceries, and filling up gas 12 times in three days. But she never even got the credit card.

"Now, you swipe that little card, and nobody checks that credit card," she said. "It's just very easy to steal somebody's credit card and use it."

Robert Duren is accused of stealing her mail, along with 550 pieces of mail from 100 other mailboxes from all over Smith County and Tyler.

"What's hurting people right now is that they didn't get their bills," Constable Frank Creath, of Precinct 2 in Smith County, said. "They didn't get their mail. They don't know who they owe, how much they owed, and when it's due. And they're getting a lot of late charges and penalties in the mail."

According to Creath, so far, Duren has allegedly charged more than $3,000 on various credit cards.

"It's just a sign of our times," Creath said. "People are literally are going to have to stop using outdoor mailboxes."

Even ones that lock, because Duren allegedly stole mail from those, too.

Creath says a lot of mail theft victims thought Duren was a mail carrier because he reportedly went from mailbox to mailbox taking mail.

Creath says he's working on making more arrests. Duren allegedly let his friends use the stolen credit cards. They will face charges of credit card abuse.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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