Just last Friday we published an article about the recent spike in mail theft, with an account from one Wilton resident who had a check stolen from her mailbox, altered from $66 to $5,000, and fraudulently signed over to someone else, who cashed it.
Now comes news of an arrest made the same day by Wilton Police following an investigation into one mail theft case that sounds almost exactly the same.
Edwin McCray, 27, of Springfield, MA, turned himself in at Wilton Police Headquarters, where he was placed under arrest and charged with third degree larceny and third degree forgery.
The charges stemmed from an incident on Sept. 24 when a check was stolen from a Bossy Lane mailbox, and then forged in order to defraud the victim of $5,000. According to the incident report, McCray was caught on video during the ensuing investigation, depositing the victim’s check into his personal bank account at a bank in Springfield, MA. The bank assisted police in identifying the suspect.
McCray was released on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Dec. 26.
So, what can residents do to reduce their risk of becoming a victim of mail and package theft?
Lt. Robert Kluk of the Wilton Police suggests changing some habits.
“That red flag on your mailbox is just that–a red flag,” says Kluk. “If you have checks to mail out, we highly encourage you to mail them out of the post office. Your mailbox may be convenient, but the aftermath of having a check stolen, is most certainly not.”
Other proactive steps residents can take include:
- Require a signature confirmation, track shipments online, purchase shipping insurance, and never leave packages unattended for long periods of time.
- Be sure to use the systems the United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS offer to track your packages from the retailer to your doorstep. All three use tracking numbers, which can determine where your package is and when it should be delivered to your home, which is particularly helpful in getting it inside your house as soon as possible.
- With the USPS Informed Delivery app, you can have email or text alerts sent to you automatically about your packages. Users can even register for daily emails that include photos of most items they should expect to see in their mail delivery that day. And, if you won’t be home in time to receive a package, you can post delivery instructions for the mail carrier. UPS’ My Choice program and FedEx’s Delivery Manager offer similar options, and Amazon is also on point to help customers keep track of packages, with tracking information that can be found in order details.
Kluk adds, “Recently, we have been talking a lot about car burglaries in Wilton,” says the WPD’s Kluk. “We have told residents to be preventative–Lock It or Lose It–it’s the best way to protect your cars and your personal property. You can apply the same kind of thinking this holiday season when it comes to your packages. Don’t leave your packages outside for an extended period of time. Get them inside where they’re secure. And, don’t leave your packages in your cars–locked or unlocked. Packages sitting on the car seat that are obviously intended for the holidays are an invitation for theft.”