2018-07-18 / Front Page

Cops Nab ‘Mail Fishers’ Red-Handed

By Liz Goff
Police caught and arrested three suspects red-handed, stealing mail from a USPS mailbox in Forest Hills.

Officers on routine patrol out of the 112th Precinct at about 2 am on July 11 spotted the three Brooklyn residents swiping the mail from a blue USPS mailbox on Ascan Avenue near Metropolitan Avenue, police said.

Police officers observed Byron Garle, 22, Nahki Gurrand, 22, and Shanice Hilton, 20, approach the mailbox in a 2018 Toyota Camry. Moments later, two of the suspects walked up to the mailbox and one of them slid a piece of glue-coated cardboard, with a string attached, into the mailbox. The second suspect acted as a lookout, police said.

The first suspect suddenly jumped back into the Camry, while the accomplice walked nonchalantly along Metropolitan Avenue.

The officers pulled over the Camry moments later, where they spotted the glue-coated cardboard, two checks and an undisclosed amount of marijuana in clear view.

The three alleged thieves were charged with grand larceny, criminal tampering, possession of burglary tools, criminal possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of marijuana at their arraignments at Queens Criminal Court.

The three suspects could also face additional charges for stealing the checks from federal property, a law enforcement source said.

Police have issued several warnings to Queens residents regarding thieves who “fish” mail from USPS boxes, an NYPD spokesperson said. The thieves use or sell personal information obtained from the stolen mail and “wash” and rewrite checks to make them easy to cash.

NYPD officials said the public should think twice before dropping mail in curbside USPS boxes, especially those located in remote areas.

Post Office officials said the agency would soon replace current mailboxes with new, tamper-proof boxes that cannot be accessed by criminals. Until then, it is safer to drop off mail inside your local post office, USPS officials said.

Contact the crime prevention officer at your local police precinct for more information on “mail fishing,” or for information on a wide variety of crime prevention programs offered free of charge by the NYPD.

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