Boise woman accused of mail theft

jsowell@idahostatesman.comFebruary 13, 2014 

Jennifer Lynn Englesby, 37, was arrested Wednesday and charged with grand theft and forgery of a financial transaction card.

Englesby is accused of stealing a Chase debit card sent last month to Julie Mai, who lives in the Columbia Village area of southeast Boise. The card was taken from Mai's mailbox and Englesby was reportedly able to activate the card with just the card number and Mai's ZIP code.

"I'm glad they got her," Mai said Friday morning. "I am pleased the Boise Police Department caught the woman responsible for stealing and using my debit card, and I hope the legal system approaches this case as a serious matter. Criminals are using both sophisticated and simple methods to obtain financial information from the public."

Englesby was already in the Ada County Jail when she was charged with the mail theft and fraudulently using Mai's card. She was arrested Jan. 27 for felony use of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.

The thief went out and in one day drained Mai's checking account of $315 by using the card to pay for clothing, crafts, gasoline and lunch at a fast food restaurant.

Mai didn't know she had been sent a replacement card until Chase notified her that she was overdrawn. The bank sent out the card following the December data theft at Target Corp. that affected as many as 110 million shoppers nationwide.

Ironically, one of the purchases made with Mai's stolen card was at Target.

Detectives working with Mai and her bank were able to identify the suspect and bring charges. Officers claim Englesby targeted mailboxes in Mai's neighborhood, stole mail and forged Mai's signature on the debit card.

Englesby was previously convicted of grand theft and petit theft. She was originally sentenced in 2005 to 10 years in prison for the grand theft, but the judge retained jurisdiction and released her from prison after she served five months. She spent more than a year in prison following conviction on three probation violation charges in the grand theft case.

In 2004, Englesby was convicted of felony injury to a child.

Officers suggest the following to help prevent mail and identity theft:

• Remove mail from mailbox as soon as possible after delivery.

• Never leave mail in your mailbox overnight. The US Postal Service will hold mail for you at no charge when you are away.

• If you travel frequently, consider the security of renting a post office box.

• Deposit outgoing mail only in official Postal Service collection boxes or at your local post office. Do not place outgoing mail, especially checks, in your personal mailbox or in your apartment complex outgoing mail slot.

• Do not used the red flag on your mailbox… It flags thieves too!

• Have financial card and boxes of checks mailed to your bank branch for pick up or to your workplace if delivery is secure.

• Keep track of monthly financial statements.

•If you do not receive an expected financial statement, credit card or check, report it promptly to the issuing entity.

• Purchase a paper shredder or otherwise destroy any unwanted mail that contains financial or personal identifier information.

• Use a gel-type ink to write checks. It is much more difficult to chemically remove and alter.

• If your mail is stolen, report it immediately to police and your local post office.

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