In what’s become an epidemic of sorts, a Ridgewood woman became one of the latest mailbox theft victims after someone stole and cashed $1,788 in checks that she’d deposited outside the Glen Rock Post Office, police said.
Thieves who once used wire and some type of adhesive to fish envelopes from boxes are now simply prying them open and snatching bundles of mail -- often from in front of post offices after hours, authorities throughout North Jersey say.
Daily Voice reported one earlier today out of Oradell.
Glen Rock has been among the towns hit hardest.
Late last month, thieves stole one Glen Rock resident’s $2,503 mortgage payment and another’s identity after breaking into the mailbox outside the post office, police said.
In the recent Glen Rock case, the victim told police she put the checks in the collection box on Nov. 11 and later learned that they’d been cashed by someone else, Police Chief Dean Ackermann said.
Her account has since been closed, but that money is lost, the chief said.
The theft was reported to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which is investigating the widespread rash of thefts from mailboxes – most of which are found directly outside post offices in various towns.
Police everywhere are urging citizens to go inside their local post offices to mail money.
They also warn against placing any mail in a free-standing box at night or on a holiday or weekend because it will end up sitting there awhile.
Although stealing mail is a federal crime that carries a prison term of up to five years for a conviction, thefts continue to increase at an alarming rate.
Thieves pocket any cash or alter any checks they find, then deposit the money in their own accounts. They can also retrieve information to steal identities, authorities say.
If you see someone fishing or tampering with a mailbox 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.
Ackermann, meanwhile, asked that anyone who may have mailed anything from in front of the Glen Rock Post Office on Tuesday or Wednesday of this past week check to confirm that it arrived.
Any suspected mail thefts should be reported to the US Postal Inspection Service at (973) 693-5450, he said.
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