Glen Ridge Police Make Arrest in Alleged Mail Fishing Theft, Recover Checks Over $116,000

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crimeOver the past year and a half, Glen Ridge has experienced numerous reports of stolen checks that were later fraudulently deposited. In these instances, the checks in question were believed to have been “fished” out of USPS collection boxes. During this on-going investigation, intelligence had been developed, which included trends and patterns. This information was passed along to the patrol division to aid in the apprehension of anyone participating in this type of criminal activity.

On Tuesday, April 17th, officers observed a suspicious vehicle near the intersection of Ridgewood Avenue/Glen Ridge Parkway, where a USPS mail box is positioned, which had been compromised in the past. During the investigation, Officers located a large pile of mail stuffed under the passenger side door of the vehicle, as well as items commonly used for mail box fishing. The passenger later admitted during an in-custody interview that he and the driver had removed the mail from the USPS collection box at Ridgewood Avenue/Glen Ridge Parkway.

Upon inspection of the stolen parcels, it was determined that contained within the 24 pieces of mail were checks totaling over $116,000, most which were destined for the IRS. Both suspects were arrested and charged with Second Degree Theft, Second Degree Trafficking in Personal Identification Information, and Fourth Degree Possession/Manufacture of Burglar’s Tools. Both suspects were later remanded to the Essex County Correctional Facility. At this point the identities of the suspects are not being released as they are part of an on-going investigation. To date, the Glen Ridge Police Department has arrested a total of five suspects related to mail fishing since April 1st.

If you have any questions, concerns or information, please contact Captain Sean Quinn at 973-748-5400, ext. 113 or at spquinn@glenridgenj.org.

Tips to Prevent Mail Theft

If you believe that your mail has been compromised, please contact the Glen Ridge Police Department at 973-748-5400. Below are safety tips that can aid in the prevention of mail theft:

Go directly into the post office and hand your mail over to a USPS employee. This is the single most effective way to prevent your mail from being compromised.

If dropping your mail off inside of the post office is not possible, attempt to locate a newer style collection box with additional security features. We have them right outside of the Glen Ridge Post Office.

Review the pickup schedule for your preferred blue box. Do not deposit anything into the mailbox after the last posted pickup. Pickup information is posted on each collection box.

Avoid mailing anything over a holiday weekend or any federally recognized holidays. The longer your mail sits in a blue box, the longer it is susceptible to being compromised. 

If possible, do not place anything in the mailbox on Fridays, unless you are handing it over to a USPS employee inside of the post office. Thieves know that many people get paid on Fridays and as a result, the mailbox may see an increase in checks on those days. Thieves will target mailboxes on Fridays for this reason.

Never put cash or money orders into a collection box. If intercepted, these items are almost impossible to track and apprehension/recovery is unlikely. 

If you see any suspicious activity around a blue box, immediately call the Glen Ridge Police Department. If time permits, note the license plate of any vehicles present during the suspicious activity and relay that information to the police dispatcher.

If you have any further questions regarding mail fishing, please contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office at 1-877-876-2455.

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