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DPS denies mailing post cards to sex offenders

10-7-1999 Texas:

AUSTIN Post cards purporting to be from the Texas Department of Public Safety have been sent to registered sex offenders across the state, DPS officials warned Wednesday.

The sender is asking sex offenders to confirm their address and return the post cards to DPS at P.O. Box 13012 in Austin. However, the cards didn't come from DPS.

"That's not our address," said DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange.

The DPS Special Crimes Service and the U.S. Postal Inspector have launched a criminal investigation into who sent the cards. Investigators are looking into possible mail fraud and state offenses, including forgery and the fraudulent use of the DPS name.

"We need the assistance of citizens who have received these post cards to mail them in an envelope to the DPS," said Lt. Col. Tommy Davis, assistant director of the department.

The cards can be mailed to DPS Special Crimes Service, P.O. Box 4087, Austin, Texas 78773-0420.

Mange said DPS began receiving calls about the phony post cards late last week and early this week.

"We've heard from a lot of people ... sex offenders, people who live at addresses where sex offenders live and parole and probation officers," she said.

Mange said sex offenders are required by law to register with local law enforcement agencies, but the post cards aren't part of the registration requirements. DPS receives information about sex offenders from the local agencies and posts it on the Internet, she said.

David Rowan, a probation officer in Lubbock County, said he hasn't heard from any probationers who received the cards.

Some registered sex offenders in Lubbock have had flyers about them placed on cars around their neighborhood and have been confronted by neighbors, Rowan said. ..more.. by Morris News Service

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