CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – A man dressed as a grandma was caught red-handed by a neighbor who says he was stealing mail in the neighborhood.
Neighbors who live on Greencastle Drive say for months someone was coming into their neighborhood at night and snatching their mail. Two neighbors actually encountered the person who they thought was an elderly woman. Turns out that person is actually a man.
“That was pretty shocking,” neighbor Dayna Keevan said.
Since the holidays, residents had reported letters and even credit and debit cards stolen right out of their mailboxes.
Both Sal Jamil and Nancy Crowell say a thief stole credit and debit cards from their mailboxes and ran up thousands of dollars in purchases across multiple states.
“I didn’t even know it had been compromised until I went to use it and it was declined,” says Crowell. The thief drained $3,600 from her accounts.
Renee Jones recorded Ring video of the thief snatching her neighbor’s mail right in front of her. Residents say the bandit was so bold, he was confronted twice and still kept coming back, week after week.
Crowell said the thief “really figured out what our mail schedule is.”
Then, last Thursday a neighbor snapped a photo of what appeared to be a startled older woman clutching mail under her shirt.
“Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and provide the information to the authorities,” says Crowell.
A neighbor paid $30 to run the photo through face recognition software. Some online digging turned up photos of a person dressed as a woman and a Georgia arrest record for a Charles Harrell. Harrell’s record included identity theft charges with female aliases listed as Sandee and Cynthia.
Neighbors also got the car’s license plate number. When the same rental car returned on Saturday, police were waiting. They followed the vehicle to a nearby Starbucks and made an arrest. Mecklenburg County records show Charles Harrell was arrested on charges unrelated to mail theft.
Police told WJZY “officers are aware of several incidents of mail theft in the neighborhood, and they are actively investigating. They are following leads, but there has been no one charged at this time.”
Residents say they feel violated and are taking precautions.
“We kind of knew when it was going to be delivered, we picked up the mail and we are in the process of actually putting in cameras with motion detectors,” Jamil said.
“I feel very relieved that at least that person’s in custody,” Keevan said.