Police have arrested four men who allegedly snatched mail from the mailboxes of more than 80 Medford residents in the past month.
Investigators recovered stolen mail from a garbage bin and are returning it to some theft victims.
"We certainly believe (the suspects) are responsible for many, many more cases," said Lt. Mike Budreau.
Jesse Garrett Edwards, 30, and Cameron Blake Davis, 25, of the 2000 block of Brookhurst Avenue, were arrested on Saturday on four counts of aggravated identity theft. Edwards also was arrested on three counts of methamphetamine possession, while Davis was arrested on three counts of first-degree theft.
Ricky Singley, 20, and Anthony Hilterbrant, 24, were both arrested on identity theft charges. Singley also was hit with a methamphetamine possession charge.
Edwards was being held Tuesday on $30,000 bail in the Jackson County Jail, jail records show.
Davis was released because of crowding. Singley is held on $7,500 bail, and Hilterbrant was cited and released.
Police allege the men stole mail from unlocked mailboxes to look for newly issued credit and debit cards, gift cards given as holiday gifts, and checks. Mail thefts surged in east Medford in late December through mid-January.
"We started seeing an increase in December," Budreau said. "We were just seeing incredibly high amounts of mail theft."
Police put out the word to banks to let them know to watch out for people attempting to cash fraudulent checks.
On Friday, police arrested Davis after he tried to cash a $1,500 check at Wells Fargo Bank. The check was reportedly stolen out of a mailbox on Ramada Drive the day before, police said.
Police then went back to Davis's Brookhurst Street home and recovered stolen mail belonging to 50 people at 30 separate addresses.
"It kind of snowballed from there," Budreau said.
It took police two days to recover all the stolen mail, which had been pilfered from the mailboxes of at least 50 residences.
Oregon law says those who steal the identities of 10 or more people can be charged with aggravated identity theft, a class B felony. The theft cases remain under investigation.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com.