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Rash of Check Thefts From East Harlem Mailboxes Claims 2 More Victims: NYPD

By Dartunorro Clark | December 5, 2016 4:02pm
 Residents and a social services organization have reported their checks or money orders being altered and cashed after placing them in local mailboxes.
Residents and a social services organization have reported their checks or money orders being altered and cashed after placing them in local mailboxes.
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DNAinfo/Mat Katz

HARLEM — A rash of check thefts from mailboxes in East Harlem has two more victims, according to police reports.

A 60-year-old resident mailed a $750 Western Union money order on Sept. 18 from a mailbox on East 116th Street and First Avenue. The woman was later told her landlord had not received it, and discovered it had apparently been stolen and altered, according to a report filed Dec. 1.

In the other case, a 54-year-old woman wrote three checks totaling $1,115 between Aug. 31 and Nov. 20 and mailed them from a mailbox on 117th Street and Lexington Avenue.

She later discovered that handwriting on the checks was altered and they were cashed. She reported the thefts on Nov. 28, police said.

So far, there have been eight reports filed with the NYPD of checks being stolen from mailboxes since mid-August. They have totaled more than $80,000.

In a previous report, a representative from the Center for Urban Community Services, which is located on East 121st Street, placed several checks totaling $56,000 in a mailbox on East 119th and Lexington Avenue on Sept. 15, only to discover last week that the checks had been altered and cashed.

Detectives at the NYPD's 25th Precinct are investigating the series of thefts as a pattern and have not yet identified a suspect.

A similar string of mailbox thefts occurred on the Upper West Side earlier this year, DNAinfo New York previously reported. In those cases, police said scammers used a sticky substance to "fish" mail out of boxes, opened the items and cashed checks.

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