‘Tis the season for thieves targeting mail, packages, vehicles

MONROE, CT — Monroe police received an alert from the Easton Police Department Tuesday afternoon to be on the lookout for a light colored Toyota Camry with California plates that was seen stealing mail out of mailboxes in the south corner of Fairfield. The vehicle was last seen heading north on Route 59 in Easton.

“We didn’t see it and had no complaints of mail theft that day,” Lt. Kevin McKellick said Friday.

However, the incident serves as a stark reminder for residents to be wary of criminals during the holidays. Police shared some tips on how to avoid being victimized this year.

“If you can get a signed receipt for a delivery, that is ideal,” McKellick said of mailing out gifts.

He also suggests sending online orders to a P.O. Box if you have one.

When you get a notification of a package being delivered to your home, McKellick said you should bring it inside as soon as possible or have a neighbor do it, rather than letting it sit on your stoop for a long period of time.

To avoid checks being stolen and “washed” he recommends using a gel tipped, rather than a ballpoint, pen. A gel tipped pen does not react to the solution criminals use to alter checks.

When mailing a check, McKellick said to either go to the Post Office or to put it in a blue Postal Service mailbox, rather than leaving it in your home mailbox for pickup.

“When you place items in your mailbox with the flag up, thieves won’t discern what’s inside, they’ll take all your mail,” McKellick said.

He said there is a U.S. Post Office location near the Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 34 that has a mailbox with a narrow one-way slot, in which fishing devices do not fit.

Residents should also be cautious while out shopping.

Last December, a Trumbull woman’s Audi A5 was broken into on Christmas Eve, while she dined at a Monroe restaurant on Main Street. Someone smashed a window and stole wrapped Christmas presents from the front seat, a pocketbook containing $700 cash, eight credit cards and an unknown number of gift cards.

That year, thieves stole items from vehicles in parking lots along Main Street, taking advantage of holiday shoppers.

“Keep gifts covered or in your trunk,” McKellick said. “Don’t make yourself an easy target.”

While at home, police remind residents to lock their car doors and not to leave valuables, or keys, inside.

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