By Jessica Brockington
Thieves have been fishing for mail on the Upper West Side — and they recently landed a big one.
Police in the 24th Precinct report that a crime trending in Queens last summer has come to the UWS, specifically to mailboxes at 94th St. and Columbus Ave., 93rd St. and Amsterdam Ave., 93rd St. and Broadway, and 104th St. and Broadway.
A milk carton, flattened, filled with a layer of cement, covered in glue, and hung on a string, can, according to police, slip down into one of the blue US Postal Service mailboxes, past the back of the mailbox door specifically designed to keep hands and arms out.
Jiggled up and down, these glue traps stick to any envelop underneath them. At the beginning of any month, those envelopes might include rent checks, credit card or utility payments, and they are at risk of being fraudulently cashed by thieves.
Five instances have been identified between October 29th and December 23rd of last year and police have been warning neighbors to either take their mail directly to the Post Office, or pay their bills electronically. In one of the incidences, thieves swiped a $31,755 commercial rent check, according to NYPD. Even though the incidents occurred last year, NYPD is treating this as an ongoing concern and it’s an active investigation.
Police Officer Guzman is the crime prevention officer spearheading this public awareness campaign, but anyone witnessing criminal mischief at a USPS mailbox should call 911 immediately.
Photo by Arwen Willemsen (cropped).