Man pleads guilty after stealing checks from Charlotte-area mailboxes

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte man pleaded guilty Thursday to committing bank fraud using more than 800 pieces of stolen mail.

According to prosecutors, 38-year-old Douglas Gumbs and his co-defendant targeted neighbors in the Charlotte area, stealing mail from their mailboxes for more than a year -- from February 2022 to April 2023. He even tore a mailbox down at one point.

The mail included credit cards, tax forms, financial statements, personal information, and personal and business bank checks.

Prosecutors said Gumbs then altered the amounts of the checks or changed the names of the payees to his own, depositing the fraudulent checks into his bank accounts. He withdrew the money before the victims and banks were able to discover the checks were stolen, authorities said.

Investigators said Gumbs was found to have more than 850 pieces of stolen mail that belonged to at least 10 victims.

One victim told Channel 9′s Erika Jackson he didn’t realize his information was stolen until his bank alerted him to possible fraud.

Renters at Camden Sedgebrook apartments trust their personal information will be safe in their mailboxes. But federal court documents show Gumbs stole mail from a deposit box there.

“It’s surprising,” said Alexander Steinert, who lives steps away from the complex’s mail drop. “I didn’t realize there’s anyone out there like that. I watch the news but I’ve never heard of that.”

He said he will be more cautious.

“I suppose probably look at the mail more often than I usually do, to make sure I get it before someone else does,” he said.

Gumbs pleaded guilty to bank fraud, a crime that carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence and a $1 million fine. He’s in custody still awaiting sentencing.

(WATCH BELOW: Officers work with postal service to get 50 pounds of stolen mail returned to owners)