Fighting the recent rash of nationwide postal box thefts, Rochelle Park detectives said they nabbed a man who deposited a check swiped from a burglarized postal box.
As with nearly all of the recent area arrests in these types of cases, the defendant is from Paterson.
It began In late November 2018, when two boxes outside the borough post office on Rochelle Avenue were broken into and several pieces of mail stolen – particularly checks, Detective Sgt. James DePreta said.
Last month, a resident told police a check sent to her credit card company never arrived, DePreta said.
Investigators who obtained subpoenas and reviewed bank surveillance video found that 18-year-old Josty Gutierrez-Guillen deposited the stolen check into his personal account, the sergeant said.
Gutierrez-Guillen was charged with theft and sent to the Bergen County Jail on Tuesday. A judge ordered him released the nextd day, under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law.
Meanwhile, the investigation was continuing, DePreta said.
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.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is conducting a broader investigation into the widespread rash of thefts, most of which come from boxes outside post offices in various towns throughout the U.S.
Thieves who once used wire and adhesive to fish envelopes from the boxes are now simply prying them open and snatching bundles of mail.
Police throughout North Jersey are urging citizens to go into their local post offices to mail anything of value.
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.
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.
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