Harris Co. Sheriff’s Office arrests woman who allegedly stole 129 pieces of mail

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:19 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:49 AM EST
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HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WTVM) - The Harris County Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman who allegedly stole packages from 45 separate victims.

“If you’re going to ride around and look on porches for stuff that’s being delivered don’t think that you’re going to get away with it,” says Sheriff of Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Mike Jolley.

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the crimes occurred on November 28, between 2:30 - 5:30 p.m., in the south end of Harris County.

Officials say Traci Shumate allegedly stole 129 pieces of mail from 45 separate victims. Shumate was seen in the area during the theft and identified by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Thanks to some quick thinking neighbors the woman is in jail. The neighbors were able to provide law enforcement with the woman’s license plate number and a good description of her.

Troy Dunkle was walking his dog in his neighborhood of Hickory Hollow in Fortson and noticed an unfamiliar face.

“I saw a women with Alabama plates and she was taking what seemed like a comforter from the trash, which I thought was strange,” says Dunkle.

Dunkle and his neighbor both acted out on their suspicion of Shumate after seeing her take mail from mailboxes.

“He [his neighbor] said he saw that same car taking the mail from both of our mailboxes, so we immediately called the police and gave them a description of the car,” says Dunkle.

Sheriff’s deputies attempted to contact Shumate and evidence was located at her residence in Phenix City - linking her to the thefts. Shumate was arrested on November 30.

Shumate was arrested by deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s office with the help from the Russell County’s sheriff’s office and Sheriff Heath Taylor’s canine unit.

“While trying to locate her we found pieces of our mail in her yard subsequently we got a search warrant for the house and we located roughly 149 individuals letters and pieces of mail belonging to Harris county residents,” says Jolley.

Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley says his office will actively seek aggressive prosecution on Shumate as well as anyone else who decides to do “free shopping” this holiday season.

Dunkle commends the work of law enforcement for handling the mail thief situation so quickly.

“It’s getting near the holidays and not everyone is as fortunate as everyone else. I think she was a little desperate and thought she could go into a quiet neighborhood and get away with it, but police had another idea and it all worked out.”