Friday, July 01, 2016
Springfield man sentenced for stealing mail, credit card fraud
A Springfield man has been sentenced in federal court for possessing stolen mail and for credit card fraud.
Eric David Vancil, 47, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool on Thursday, June 30, 2016, to three years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Vancil to pay $477 in restitution.
Vancil, who pleaded guilty on Dec. 18, 2015, admitted that he stole mail from at least 55 individuals in Greene County, Mo., and elsewhere between Oct. 23, 2013, and April 28, 2015. Law enforcement investigators determined that the mail matter included checks, credit cards, and other personal identification cards and information that belonged to other individuals. Vancil used the stolen mail and information to create or activate credit card accounts that contained personal identification numbers issued to others. Vancil then conducted fraudulent financial transactions using the stolen credit, debit and identification cards to make purchases.
The investigation began when federal agents were notified of numerous break-ins into mail boxes and mail collection receptacles and the theft of mail throughout the Springfield and Joplin, Mo., areas, including several neighborhood delivery collection box units where mail was stolen by prying the rear, locked doors. On Oct. 25, 2013, Vancil was stopped in his Nissan Pathfinder by Joplin police officers for a traffic violation. Officers located stolen mail bearing several Springfield addresses, including personal checks. Officers also located a pry bar inside of the vehicle at the time of the stop along with additional stolen mail and IRS tax forms.
On Dec. 24, 2013, another victim reported her mail was stolen and provided two video surveillance photos of a suspect vehicle that matched Vancil’s Nissan Pathfinder. On Feb. 4, 2014, Vancil was stopped by a Springfield police officer in his Nissan Pathfinder. The vehicle contained drugs, numerous burglary tools, stolen checks and several identifications bearing names other than the vehicle occupants.
On Feb. 20, 2014, two checkbooks, keys and multiple credit cards were stolen from a vehicle in Nixa, Mo. The credit card was used at several stores in the Battlefield Mall, including a fraudulent purchase at Foot Locker. When Vancil returned to the store the next day to return the merchandise, store employees called police and delayed Vancil until officers arrived. After a brief foot pursuit, officers detained Vancil, who was carrying checks, credit cards and other items from the theft victim.
On Jan. 27, 2015, a witness reported that a suspect later identified as Vancil drove up to a mailbox and removed mail from the box. On April 28, 2015, a witness reported a suspicious vehicle in Springfield, going from mailbox to mailbox stealing mail. Greene County sheriff’s deputies located the vehicle, the Nissan Pathfinder driven by Vancil. Vancil attempted to flee from officers and drove through some residential yards before being stopped. Deputies recovered approximately 100 pieces of mail from inside the vehicle, in addition to checkbooks, credit cards, applications for financial assistance as well as debit card information and other handwritten personally indefinable information. The recovered mail on this occasion contained addresses for 38 victims.
Among the credit card numbers found in Vancil’s vehicle was one used to make an online reservation for a Springfield motel room.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.