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MOORESTOWN, N.J. (CBS) — Police in South Jersey are warning that if you’re waiting for a check in the mail, it may have been stolen.

A little pause before Betsy Schnorr from Moorestown deposited her mail Thursday, after learning police are investigating reports of mailbox fishing. It’s a crime where thieves steal mail to target checks and other sensitive information. This week Moorestown police issued a public alert after mail was stolen from several blue curbside collection mailboxes.

“I’m shocked, I’ve lived in this town for many, many years and I’m really surprised that somebody is going to a mailbox and doing this,” said Schnorr.

U.S. postal inspector Alex Sylvester is working with Moorestown police and says the thefts occurred in recent weeks, and not just in Moorestown. Victims reported that sensitive mail didn’t arrive at the intended destinations. So far no one has reported identity theft but there’s a fear it could happen.

“There is the possibility of compromised accounts but we’re working with local bank investigators to ensure that there are not additional loses,” said Sylvester.

Postal officials say the safest way to send sensitive mail is to bring it to your post office or hand it to your letter carrier. If you put it in a blue collection box or your own mailbox do it shortly before pick up time and never leave it sitting there overnight.

As for the thieves in question, they could face a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and up to a quarter million dollar fine.

“Safety and security of the mail is extremely important to us and that’s why we’re working so hard to bring these guys to justice”,” said Sylvester.

Moorestown police say they can’t comment on an ongoing investigation but if you see anybody tampering with mail boxes in town. They say don’t hesitate to call.