LINDALE (KYTX) -- We're learning more about the latest rash of people stealing out of mailboxes in the Lindale area.
An outbreak of mail thefts reported in rural, and often isolated, neighborhoods.
Constable Ken Bibby points out crooks are striking, for example, in a South Lindale neighborhood off Jim Hogg Road.
"They are generally done during the day because they know mail carriers are running during that time frame," Bibby, Smith County Precinct 5 Constable, said.
He adds in most cases victims don't even know mail was stolen until the mortgage company contacts them about the bill being past due.
"When they see there's a mortgage check or a bill that's being paid, they will retrieve that mail and do what we call bleaching," Bibby said.
Thieves bleach the check, usually make it payable to themselves, then cash it. It's also a problem off CR 4108.
"We just got a text from our landlord saying there was something going on around here for everybody to be alert," Tina Duncan, who lives nearby in the county, said.
She's going to be vigilant, just like law enforcement hopes. "I know some of the neighbors around here, so I'm always looking to see if anybody pulls up in their driveway that shouldn't be. I'm a nosy neighbor," Duncan said.
And something for homeowners to keep in mind: your red flags in an upright position on your mailbox tell crooks your mail is sitting inside. Law enforcement is encouraging you to drop it off at the post office.
There have been no arrests so far out in the county, but constables suspect the thieves live in the area.
They say prescription painkillers are also being targeted inside mailboxes.