Neighbors get social, catch mail thieves

(WBIR-Tellico Village) Things have calmed down at Tellico Village in Loudon County after mail thieves targeted dozens of neighbors last month. Neighbors are now sharing how they helped catch the suspects.

After the initial thefts, a neighbor notified the community through, a private neighborhood site used for interacting with other residents.

It then sent an urgent alert, via text message, to nearly 3,000 people.

Sharon Addison founded Tellico Village's site on more than a year ago.

To become a member of a neighborhood site, applicants must get their address verified. It is free to be a user.

About 50% of the Tellico Village households are registered.

"One of the things we found was most useful to us was how to use the crime and safety portion," Addison said.

Tellico Village Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Nancy Campbell said the site has increased communication between the Loudon County Sheriff's Office and the neighborhood.

"As people are talking more to each other, they're becoming more aware of what is going on in each neighborhood," Campbell said.

Addison added, "Being able to get the word out about a possible mail theft situation, that went to a couple thousand people who said, 'Oh that's something I might want to keep a watch on.'"

The initial post led to neighbors installing mailbox alarms.

Shortly after, a neighbor noticed suspicious behavior and called 911.

According to LCSO Detective Jason Smith, two women were "caught in the act."

They were brought in for questioning.

United States Postal Inspection Service is now handling the case. The two women could face federal charges.