By Tom Mustin

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – A thief stole thousands of dollars from an elderly woman be stealing her mail, then her identity, and finally her money.

Barbara Ballerino is still angry.

“I lived in New York until I was 51 years old — never had anything like this. I didn’t expect it here,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office says a man caught on video across the metro area stole the identity of Ballerino’s 92-year-old mother.

Pictures of the mail theft, fraud suspect (credit: Arapahoe County)

Pictures of the mail theft, fraud suspect (credit: Arapahoe County)

“I was heartbroken. My mother is in assisted living. She didn’t do anything wrong and she didn’t deserve this,” she said.

Ballerino pays her mother’s bills. She says she recently wrote checks on her mother’s account and dropped them off in her Centennial mailbox. She soon started getting canceled checks from places she had never been — from King Soopers to Home Depot to Bass Pro Shops.

“I’ve never even been to a Bass Pro Shop,” she told Mustin.

In all, the thief wrote $3,000 worth of checks. Julie Brooks with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office says the suspect stole mail from boxes, and then duplicated the checks.

Along with Ballerino’s mother’s information, the crook added the identity of a car theft victim to the checks.

The suspect was caught on camera shopping from Denver to Commerce City. Brooks says Ballerino’s mother is probably not the only victim.

“They are taking mail from multiple people so it would not be a surprise to have him be a suspect in other cases.”

Ballerino now grudgingly drives to the post office to mail her bills.

“I guess I’m just an honest person and never would do this to anyone, and never expected it to be done to me,” she said.

(credit: Arapahoe County)

(credit: Arapahoe County)

She’s hoping the opportunistic crook who targeted her mother has cashed his last check.

“I hope they catch who’s doing this. It’s horrible.”

The sheriff’s office says if you have any concerns about your mailbox, you can always take your mail directly to the post office.

The suspect is described as an older white male with a white goatee. He was wearing a gold CU hat and a Broncos jacket. He was driving a silver Nissan. Any with information in the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

Additional Information From The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

Anyone with information regarding these crimes or recognizes the suspect in the pictures is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). You can text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter your message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com. If the information you provide leads to the arrest and charging of a wanted individual, you can receive a cash reward up to $2,000.

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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