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PO Box Break-in Leads to Arrests

By Glenn Collins
Thursday, April 1, 2010 | 8:04 AM


A Haleyville Post Office box break-in has led to two arrests. Howard Ray Trapp Jr., 33, and Vanessa Darlene Trapp, 40, both of Phil Campbell, were arrested Monday and charged with three counts each of possession of a forged instrument. The Trapps are being held at Winston County Jail with no bond.

On Wednesday, March 24, an employee of Medical Arts Pharmacy discovered its Post Office box had been broken into. Haleyville Police then discovered the Trapps allegedly tried on March 23 to cash a check made payable to Medical Arts Pharmacy at a local convenience store. The clerk refused to cash it.

However, the Trapps allegedly cashed three checks at the same store on March 21. These checks were payable to the Trapps over the forged signature of a woman from Hackleburg. Further investigation revealed these checks were stolen from the woman’s post office box in Hackleburg and she had never signed them.

Haleyville Police, now working with the Hackleburg, Phil Campbell and Bear Creek police departments and the Franklin County Sheriff, obtained a search warrant for the Trapp’s residence on Hyde Road in Phil Campbell.  The warrant was executed Monday and the Trapps were arrested.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Haleyville Police Chief Kyle Reogas said. He added that other charges are pending. Reogas is concerned as to just how many more victims there may be out there. Also, no checks were found during the search. “I’m confident that if there had been any checks there when we searched, they would have been found,” Reogas said. That leaves open the questions of what happened to the Medical Arts Pharmacy check, how many other checks were in that mailbox, and what is the origin of checks the Trapps allegedly tried to cash in Bear Creek and Phil Campbell?

PUBLIC ALERT -- Anyone who may have mailed payment to Medical Arts Pharmacy between March 10, and March 23, should contact the pharmacy to ensure their checks arrived. The pharmacy’s number is 486-3133.

Howard Trapp had served time in federal prison for breaking into a post office box, and a federal grand jury will hear evidence in two weeks on an unrelated post office box break in.

The checks to the woman in Hackleburg were mailed to her from a credit card company. Some credit card companies mail their account holders checks, with their names and addresses on them, indicating that they can receive special interest rates if used by a certain date.

Posted in News | Crime and Courts