A thief who’d already cashed several checks fished from postal boxes was carrying 19 more when a Hackensack detective caught him, authorities said.
Ricky Javier, 20, was charged with various counts of theft, forgery, conspiracy and trafficking in personal identity after Detective Sgt. Ryan Weber identified and tracked him down.
Javier had previous identity theft arrests, as well as a string of burglaries and drug court violations from incidents in Cliffside Park, Fort Lee, Hackensack, Little Ferry, Saddle River and elsewhere – all in a span of barely 18 months, records show.
Mahwah police two years ago charged him with being part of a car burglary ring whose members got dropped off and picked up from different neighborhood throughout Bergen County.
This time, Weber arrested Javier “on two active warrants that stemmed from stealing mail from mailboxes and then depositing the altered stolen checks into third-party checking accounts,” Capt. Peter Busciglio said.
He also had more than a dozen and a half other uncashed checks and money orders stolen from mailboxes in Queens and Long Island, the captain said.
Javier remained held Friday in the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Although stealing mail can be prosecuted as a federal crime that carries a prison term of up to five years for a conviction, thefts continue to increase at an alarming rate.
Some thieves use a variant of a string, or ribbon, with glue or other sticky materials at the end of the lines. Others simply pry the postal boxes open.
In response, the U.S. Postal Service has begun to replace drop boxes with newer, higher-security drop boxes.
Meanwhile, police urge customers to go inside the post office to deposit their mail.
NOTE: If you see someone tampering with a postal box or sitting in a car parked for a long time near one, contact your local police department immediately. Or call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Hotline at (877) 876-2455.
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