Thieves targeting the United States Postal Service mailboxes on streets in Westchester are becoming bolder, this time targeting a post office itself.
In a statement, the Bronxville Police Department reported that it is investigating a series of mail thefts in the village, including items that were deposited in the mail slot at the lobby of the post office on Pondfield Road.
The latest string of stolen mail comes as Westchester appointed new Westchester Postal Service Manager Roxanne Hosein.
“Returning to the Postal Service's Westchester District is like a professional homecoming for me,” she said in a statement this week. “My postal management career was launched in Westchester over twenty years ago in positions focusing on customer relations, marketing and postal operations.
“Living in Westchester, obtaining my MBA at Mercy and now returning to work in Westchester, I have a personal interest and commitment in making a positive influence for my neighbors, colleagues and residents of Westchester. It is genuinely gratifying to return to be part of the 5,327 USPS Westchester team who are committed in strengthening and delivering our brand.”
Hosein said that they have started to receive “positive feedback” to some of the changes being made in the area following months of complaints.
“Like any other organization that competes for customers, it is essential that we continuously look for ways to adapt and improve. Under the leadership of Westchester District Manager Richard Conte, the good news is that we are beginning to receive positive feedback on our service; but rest assured, we have more work to do. The community feedback from our ongoing outreach activities is certainly paying dividends by helping us do a better job of identifying areas of opportunity for improvement.”
Investigators also noted that residents should be aware of the potential for identity theft and late payment charges for bill payments sent through the mail. The incidents remain under investigation by police in Yonkers and nearby local law enforcement agencies.
“These incidents of outside mailbox theft appear to be a regional issue with multiple jurisdictions affected; therefore the (law enforcement) recommends that residents go directly to their local post office and drop off mail inside the postal facility or hand deliver to your carrier.”
Officials, including Rep. Nita Lowey, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Eliot Engel and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney sent a letter last week to United States Postmaster General Megan Brennan calling for the Postal Service to address theft of mail across the region.
In the letter, the officials highlighted incidents of stolen mail that resulted in financial fraud and identity theft in the Hudson Valley. “From missing payments to emptied bank accounts after thieves ‘wash’ checks pulled from collection boxes, mail theft threatens the livelihood of constituents.”
“These thefts occur daily, rapidly and significantly decreasing the reliability of the Postal Service,” they wrote. “These widespread incidents cost our constituents large sums of money and much time to remedy, not to mention the confidence and peace of mind that the Postal Service prides itself on providing.
“Mail theft threatens the livelihood of our constituents and impacts our most vulnerable populations. These thefts occur daily, rapidly and significantly decreasing the reliability of the Postal Service. Thieves are not only ‘ fishing ’ mail out of collection boxes, but are stealing the entire mailbox or using keys acquired from postal employees.”
Recently, a pair was busted with more than 100 pieces of stolen mail, and a duo in Yonkers were caught on video actively stealing from city mailboxes.
“Thieves use stolen mail to commit financial fraud and identity theft,” the Members wrote. “Our constituents have been accused of missing payments, and some of their bank accounts have been emptied after thieves “wash” checks pulled from mailboxes. These widespread incidents cost our constituents large sums of money and much time to remedy, not to mention the confidence and peace of mind that the Postal Service prides itself on providing.”
On Wednesday, Lowey "demanded that the USPS explain and remedy the causes of the loss of 20 passport applications in Tappan, responding to a complaint from a constituent that was confirmed by the Connecticut Passport Agency and the Postal Service."
“The loss of these passport applications points to further failures from the Postal Service, which over the past year have threatened the livelihoods and financial security of thousands of Hudson Valley residents by mishandling sensitive mail,” she said. “The inability or unwillingness of the Postal Service to acknowledge the scope of its problems and to implement meaningful changes is unacceptable, and further erodes customer confidence in mail delivery. It’s time the Postal Service is held accountable.”
Area law enforcement agencies have issued common sense advice to help residents avoid becoming victims of the scam:
- Consider transferring money via other methods;
- Drop mail containing checks directly at the Post Office or hand it directly to your mail carrier;
- If you use a mailbox, deposit the mail as close to the scheduled pick-up time as possible;
- When writing a check use a pen with pigmented ink that cannot be erased;
- If you see any suspicious activity around mailboxes, call the police.
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