MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police in Savage say they have caught the ringleader of a major mail theft operation.

Khou Vang, 37, is facing federal criminal charges for bank fraud and identity theft.

Police say Vang has taught others how to steal peoples’ mail, and eventually their identities.

“This all started to occur in September of last year,” said. Detective Sgt. Mike Schiltz.

Khou Vang (credit: Savage Police)

He has spent hundreds of hours combing over financial documents. The work began when a spike in outgoing mail thefts hit the south metro.

Schiltz says businesses and individual residents were impacted.

“[Thieves are] looking for mailboxes with the red flag up,” Schiltz said. “They’re going after your checks that you’re sending out.”

Federal Court documents say Vang stole information to create counterfeit checks. Schiltz says the thefts have added up to more than $100,000.

“Check your statements often so you can catch that fraudulent activity before it really beefs up,” Schiltz said.

He expects there will be more arrests and charges in the coming months stemming from this mail theft ring.

Schiltz suggests people not mail any personal information, like checks, through their own mailbox.

If you do see suspicious activity on bank statements, he says to call the police in addition to your bank because it may lead to catching criminals.