ROGERSVILLE, Mo. -- Tonia Kotulski has lived in her neighborhood in southeast Greene County for 15 years. She never had a problem there until this week.
"I thought what in the world, was that just a crime?" said Kotulski.
Shortly after putting a bill in the mailbox at her curb, Kutulski saw a woman drive up to her mailbox, open it and brazenly swipe the contents.
In spite of her shock, Kutulski immediately went to her bank, where she saw deputies with another woman whose mailbox had also been hit.
In all, five mailboxes in the area were targeted on Monday.
Deputies said, in crimes like this, the culprits are after checks. Once they get the checks, the thieves clean them by lifting the handwriting through various methods -- leaving only the pertinent information.
"It's not like the old days when we were in elementary school and you erased your answer and you almost wore a hole in the paper. They have the ability to not do that. They'll make the check out to a friend or themselves, they'll change the amount," said Greene County Sheriff's Department Capt. Jim Farrell.
Even more problematic, Farrell said, the thieves now have your routing and checking account numbers. With that information, they can make their own checks or go shopping online. Some people don't even know they've been hit until they bounce checks or their account is drained.
"So much of this can be done in such a short period of time, you may not know until it's done," said Farrell.
Kutulski was lucky because she reached her bank before she lost any money, but she did have to change her 23-year-old account. From now on, Kutulski said, she won't be putting her bills in her mailbox.
Detectives have a suspect, but no arrests have been made at this point. Officers believe the same person hit all five mailboxes.