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Three More Victims Targeted in Mailbox Check Fishing Scam, Police Say

By Dartunorro Clark | February 21, 2017 4:52pm
 Mailbox check thefts have been reported in East Harlem since August 2016. 
Mailbox check thefts have been reported in East Harlem since August 2016. 
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DNAinfo/Mat Katz

EAST HARLEM — Thieves who have fished checks worth thousands of dollars out of Harlem mailboxes have another three victims, police said.

Police at East Harlem's 25th NYPD precinct said the latest thefts happened between Feb. 6 and Feb. 17.

In one case, a 61-year-old woman mailed a $429 check to pay her credit card bill, but received a letter around Feb. 15 saying that her account was past due, police said.

She later was told by her bank that the check appeared to have been altered and cashed for $1,800 under another person’s name, police said.

The victim reported the incident two days later and told police she mailed the check at a box at 118 East 124th Street, where several other residents have reported their checks have been stolen.

Another 61-year-old woman had two checks she'd written on Feb. 10 totaling $4,100 stolen from a mailbox on 455 East 118th Street. They had the name altered and were cashed, police said.

A 46-year-old man told police he mailed a $1,900 check at Third Avenue and East 117th Street on Jan. 28. He told police on Feb. 6 that the check was stolen, altered and cashed.

Police have identified the crimes as “fishing," where thieves leave a sticky substance in the mailboxes to trap mail and "fish" it out later.

Police arrested three for "fishing" envelopes out of Uptown postal boxes after residents in Washington Heights and Inwood spotted several with glue along the inside lid to trap letters as they’re placed inside. 

There had not been any arrests in the East Harlem cases as of Feb. 21.

Check out the map below to see where thefts have been reported: