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Exclusive: Video shows arrest of 2 men accused of stealing checks from mailbox

Two men arrested at gunpoint, accused of stealing mail
Two men arrested at gunpoint, accused of stealing mail 02:28

MIAMI - New surveillance video obtained exclusively by CBS News Miami shows two men arrested at gunpoint as they are accused of stealing checks from the mailbox of a Southwest Miami-Dade business.

The arrest was made on Friday by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at Pro-Air Solutions after officers had conducted surveillance at the business at S.W. 74th Avenue and 45th Street.

One of the victims, business co-owner Kenneth Ramirez, told CBS News Miami's Peter D'Oench, "This started two weeks ago when I realized I had left an employee check in the mailbox and he called me two hours later and it was gone. So we started looking through the cameras and we saw that we were getting robbed every Friday and every Saturday for the last month and a half."

Ramirez stopped payment on the stolen payroll checks but he also was missing checks with payments from customers.

"It was devastating," he said. "I have 20 employees and to realize we are not getting customers checks and not being able to make payroll with the customers sending payments that were missing, it was heart-wrenching."

"It's great that arrests were made for the community," he said. "I am sure that this is not just me that this has happened to."

A law enforcement source said he believed that the suspects had done this before.

He said they were charged with state crimes including petit theft and possession of five or more items with personal identification information.

Ramirez said, "I think it's a shame and we worry about people cashing these checks. It's a serious crime and it is constantly happening. I am glad they caught them. Now we can get a better idea where the checks went and build a case against them."

He said, "The message is don't do it. Get a job so you can support your family."

Ramirez said he had owned the business for six years.

U.S. Postal Inspector Blanca Alvarez urges people to be alert and on guard.

"By reporting to the postal inspection service and other agencies we are able to document incidents and follow up and investigate them. It's important that your viewers know that if they suspect suspicious activities to report that to the postal inspection service and their local police departments," Alvarez said.

She said postal thefts had been on the increase until the Postal Inspection Service implemented Project Safe Delivery.

She also said if you are going to be away from your mail, "Try not to sit in your mailbox overnight. Have a neighbor pick it up for you or somebody that you trust get the mailbox for you."

"Another good option that is free that the postal service provides is Informed Delivery. Informed Delivery is a service where if you sign up on the postal service website, you will get pictures of mail that you will be receiving that day or the next few days so are aware of what is coming and you can look out for that mail."

Alvarez said if you believe your mail has been stolen or tampered with, you can call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.

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