As the amount of checks and cash reported stolen from mailboxes continues to rise, so do the number of check-theft arrests that Fair Lawn police are making.
This time, Detective Brian Rypkema arrested two Paterson residents:
- Evelin Fernandez, 39, deposited a $2,253 check into her account after it had been mailed at the Radburn Post Office by a member of the Fair Lawn Senior Center, Sgt. Brian Metzler said.
- Angel Sanchez-Ramos, 25, cashed a $1,302.38 check that had been mailed at a post office box on Dorothy Street, Metzler said.
Both were released after being charged with theft by deception.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating the widespread rash of theft, most of which come from boxes outside post offices in various towns.
Thieves who once used wire and adhesive to fish envelopes from the boxes are now simply prying them open and snatching bundles of mail.
Fair Lawn has been particularly hard hit, along with Englewood, Glen Rock, Mahwah, Maywood, New Milford, Oradell and other North Jersey towns.
Fair Lawn police have had significant success recently tracking down mailed check thieves.
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.
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.
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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