Checks stolen from local church's mailbox; neighborhood worried about crime

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Checks were stolen out of the mailbox at First Church of Christ Scientist on 66th Avenue North, and people in the Forest Dunes neighborhood said this isn't the first time.

Church members explained that after the theft happened Monday afternoon, they filed a police report Tuesday morning and canceled their mail service with the carrier. They also notified people along the street to be aware and extra-cautious now.

Sending and receiving checks through the mail is a routine thing for many people.

"If it doesn't look right say something," said the Forest Dunes HOA President Clark Vereen. He is urging his neighbors to be smart, especially if they are paying a bill by mail. "Take those to the post office or a postal mail box, don't transmit cash through the mail and your home, don't send checks out or if you're expecting a check - have it done electronically or to your office if you have that, or get a P.O. Box for added safety."

One of Vereen's neighbors bought a lock box one year ago when she felt suspicious. He said a lock box can mean there's something of value inside and people could try to pry it open.

"Don't put things in the mail box and put the flag up - it's just a sign," Vereen said. "Usually something is in there. Usually it's a bill or a check that needs to be picked up. Be conscious of home deliveries these days and making sure someone is home to accept those personally. I've had more deliveries delivered to my work for added safety and protection."

Vereen said he's noticed more crime throughout the neighborhood recently.

Vereen said he's seen "people not locking car doors, you know leaving things in sight, where people can just pick it up and take them, people looking for money or things they can convert into money. One neighbor had their golf cart recently taken, so you definitely want to lock those up."

For extra safety, Vereen said camera and security systems are a huge benefit.

"People have lived here for many, many years or vacation here. They are families and mostly know who belongs and who doesn't belong. The neighbors look out for one another. We have to keep up with the times and be smarter, smarter than the crooks."

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