OLNEY, Md. (AP) — Montgomery County police are warning of a series of mail thefts throughout the county that have been an ongoing problem since November.

Police said Friday that the thefts have occurred after victims placed their outgoing mail in their mailboxes. In many cases, the mail contained checks to pay bills. The suspects have been stealing the mail, removing checks, and then altering them to obtain cash at banks.

Investigators believe a series of thefts in the Olney area may be related.

Police say citizens should drop important outgoing mail at local post offices or in U.S. Postal Service mailboxes. They also warn against using a “flag” on a mailbox as a signal that mail is waiting to be picked up.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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