Aug. 16, 2023 By Anthony Medina
In an effort to thwart a spike in mail theft across Queens, Congresswoman Grace Meng invited the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the NYPD’s 104th Precinct to share mail theft prevention tips with residents in Maspeth on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
John Del Giudice, the assistant inspector in charge for the New York division of the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, joined Meng outside of the U.S. Post Office on 55-02 69th St. to talk about mail theft prevention and new postal initiatives across the country.
“This issue of mail theft is something that our office and the NYPD and the Postal Inspector have been constantly hearing about,” said Meng. “There have been over 600 cases reported this year just in my congressional district alone. Those are just the cases that we have heard about.”
An overall increase in identity theft incidents, cases of check washing, in addition to packages and other sensitive documents being stolen, continue in Meng’s district, she said.
Back in June, residents took it upon themselves to share months’ worth of photos and videos capturing a couple of thieves stealing mail from green relay boxes around 60th Road and Mount Olivet Crescent.
The USPIS postal inspectors, alongside officers from the 104th Precinct, apprehended the suspects involved in the mail theft, which neighbors on the block captured and shared on video.
“We were really grateful for his efforts,” Meng said, regarding the work of Joseph Croce, who continuously shared a video of the two apprehended mail thieves in the act. “I had seen him personally post on Facebook — the video that he took of people stealing the mail — and because of his efforts, I think that they were able to apprehend the culprits.”
The congresswoman also shared details of a new postal service program expected to bring 49,000 new electronic locks on existing mailboxes that will replace antiquated locks currently being used. She asked the postal service to make Queens a priority in rolling out their project across the country.
Meng also announced work on a joint piece of legislation with Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis to give the US Postal Service more subpoena authority. The effort will hopefully bring more punishment to larger mail crime groups, meng mentioned.
“These new locks have been installed in select cities with installation to occur and additional major metropolitan areas,” said Inspector Giudice. The inspector also mentioned the installation of high-security mail collection boxes nationwide, making it harder for criminals, and being deployed in the next physical year.
Deputy Inspector Coleman mirrored the importance of both community cooperation with police and the relationship between the NYPD and U.S. postal inspectors. He recommended residents should send packages at their local post offices.
“If you do use a mail box, then we recommend you drop it off as close as possible to the scheduled pickup time,” Coleman said. “For example, if the pickup time is 10 a.m., then we’d recommend drop your mail off at that Mailbox at 9:45 a.m. And finally, if you’re writing a check that you’re going to send in the mail, use a permanent ink pen like a gel pen, which is much more difficult for a would-be criminal to wash the check and change the name or the amounts.”
U.S. Postal Inspectors encourage the public to report mail thefts and mail-related crimes to the postal inspection service by calling 877-876-2455 or visiting the website to learn more at uspis.gov/report.