IDENTITY THEFT: 2 men arrested in Minnesota mail heists

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) –

In the age of sophisticated data breaches, a few suspected thieves in the Twin Cities went the old school route by stealing hundreds of pieces of mail in the metro — enough to fill eight garbage bags.

Investigators have already identified hundreds of victims and they believe there could be more.

“You feel completely violated,” R.J. Newcome told Fox 9 News.

Newcome said he and his wife, Pam, knew something was wrong when they found their mailbox open and empty two nights in a row a couple of weeks ago. Now, they worry their identities may have been stolen along with their mail, and that’s why they’ll be buying a secure mailbox and monitoring their credit reports.

“You are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, to hear that some account has opened with your name on it,” Newcome said.

On Friday, police arrested Chao Moua and Runger Vang during a traffic stop in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. Inside their vehicle, police found stolen mail and credit cards.

Vang later admitted he’d stolen mail 28 times since late December and that he often returned to the same neighborhoods to get PIN numbers for credit cards he had already taken from his victim’s mailboxes.

Police say the pair not only hit dozens of mailboxes in Roseville, but they also targeted other communities and even went as far away as western Wisconsin. Yet, what the pair did with the personal information they pilfered is even more disturbing.

Vang allegedly cashed a stolen check for $1,800 while Moua tried to get a tax refund from one of their victims. The only reason the online return didn’t go through is that Moua didn’t want to pay the fee to have it processed.

Both Vang and Moua are facing felony identity theft charges, and postal inspectors plan to deliver the stolen mail sometime this week along with information on what victims can do to protect themselves.

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