ARVADA (CBS4) – Police are looking for a Denver-area mother who is tied to an identity theft ring.
Jefferson County investigators say Cassandra Ghirardi, 45, of Arvada, is on the run and possibly in California. Her daughter is in custody as an accomplice.
Authorities think Ghirardi stole from people’s mailboxes in the Denver area and then used their personal information to create phony checks.
They say her daughter, Alexandra Wilde, 27, ran an Internet operation to cash in.
Detectives say the mom and daughter bought items at several stores with fake checks. There are an estimated 600 victims and losses of more than $60,000. Half of that was in postage stamps, which were then sold online.
Craig Love, one of the victims, said he bought a new secure mailbox that requires a key to get it open after the crime at his residence.
Love says he felt violated and angered and wondered if one of his neighbors might be responsible. Love actually wan’t far off with that concern. Wilde lives close by.
“Most of this mail investigators believe was stolen in the neighborhoods where Miss Wilde lived and where Ms. Ghirardi was either living or visiting,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Pam Russell.
Love says he specifically avoided paying his bills online and thought he would be safer if he mailed them all in the traditional way. Now he says he will never mail anything from his mailbox.
“I hope they serve just time because I may be paying for this for years to come,” he said.
The district attorney’s office says you should never send bills or checks through your home mailbox. To be safe, they also said it’s important to take your mail in to the post office or pay your bills securely online.