WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 3
Lawmakers, cops, postal service talk mailbox fishing
BY RYAN KELLEY
Local elected officials met this
week with the 104th Precinct,
U.S. Postal Service and Postal Inspector
in the continued fi ght against
mailbox fi shing in Glendale and the
Congresswoman Grace Meng, Councilman
Robert Holden, Assemblyman
Mike Miller and a representative for
Senator Joseph Addabbo all met with
Deputy Inspector John Mastronardi
of the 104th Precinct as well as Postal
Inspectors and offi cials from the Postal
Service at Meng’s Forest Hills offi ce
on Sept. 10, where they discussed the
crime trend at length.
According to multiple officials,
the Postal Service explained at the
meeting that 47 of the 189 mailboxes
in the precinct have been retrofi tted
with smaller mail slots to prevent
fi shing. The rest of the mailboxes are
expected to be retrofi tted within the
next 90 days.
When asked if that timeline could
be any shorter, the Postal Service told
the elected offi cials that the process is
already being expedited as much as
possible, according to Holden’s communications
director, Daniel Kurzyna.
Photo via Facebook/Council Member Robert F. Holden
Local elected offi cials meet with the 104th Precinct, U.S. Postal Service
and Postal Inspector on Sept. 10 to discuss mailbox fi shing in the district.
“U.S. Postal offi cials assured us that
the remaining boxes will be retrofi tted
soon, prioritizing areas that have been
hit the hardest with mailbox fi shing,”
Meng said in a statement on Sept. 11.
“I thank the U.S. Postal Service for
working with me on this issue and I
will continue to work with the agency
and all stakeholders until all collection
boxes in Queens are retrofi tted.”
The meeting came in response to a
surge in the crimes in which an object
covered in adhesive is tied to a string
and dropped into a mailbox in an attempt
to retrieve checks or documents
with personal information. The 104th
Precinct released two alerts in recent
weeks notifying the community that
there have been nearly 50 cases of
mailbox fi shing so far in 2018.
While there have been cases
throughout the precinct, Glendale has
seen the majority with approximately
25 incidents, Kurzyna said.
Postal Inspectors told the elected
offi cials that when they narrow in
on a group suspected mailbox fi shermen,
the crooks oft en move on
to another neighborhood, multiple
offi cials said.
“It’s a crime coming to an area near
you,” Miller said. “The post offi ce is
anticipating it moving to another area
in Queens or even Nassau County, and
they’re trying to stay ahead of where
it’s going to happen next.”
Officials also explained how the
mail thieves are still looting the
newly retrofi tted mailboxes. In the
old boxes with a pull-down hatch
on the front, any number of larger
objects such as a water bottle could be
dropped inside. Now that the hatches
have been replaced by a thin slot for
mail in the front, the thieves are using
plastic CD cases covered in adhesive
to slip through and drop into the box,
multiple offi cials said.
In one case, suspects are even believed
to be in possession of a stolen
The retrofitted mailboxes have
curtailed the crime wave somewhat,
however, and Miller said a few arrests
have been made in local fi shing cases.
Going forward, Addabbo said that
he plans to look into increasing the
penalty for mail thieves on the state
level with the hope that it will discourage
them in the future.
“It’s so simple to do, that’s why it’s
so rampant these days,” Addabo said.
“The new boxes do help, but I’d like
that common thief to think twice if
that penalty is increased.”
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