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Police see rise in checks stolen out of Delray Beach mailboxes

Rhode Island woman considering moving to Delray Beach concerned about crime
Posted at 5:58 AM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 08:45:06-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach police are warning people in the area of a resurgence in crime involving check washing.

How it works is criminals will go to people's mailboxes, take out checks intended for bills or other payments, change the name and check total, and pocket the money for themselves.

"This area has been built up lately and there's a lot of walking back and forth on this road," said Gary Myers, who lives in Delray Beach. "I'm very worried about it. I put bills in the mail all the time and I have to worry about someone taking them out."

Myers said his house has been a victim of mail theft before and worries the crime will increase as more people move into the area.

For people visiting town like Willa Perlman, news of the check thefts is a red flag.

Another alternative for paying bills by mail is to switch to paying online.

"Not only is it an issue with paying bills," Perlman said. "It's an issue with your credit rating, and that's not fair."

Perlman said she's considering moving to Delray Beach from Rhode Island but is now worried about the crime.

"If there's theft going on, it scares me, because it's for me and I'd be living alone and the other is, it scares me in terms of property value," said Perlman.

Police said it's best to use black gel ink pens when writing a check because it's the most difficult to wash off. They also advise dropping mail off at the post office instead.

"I check my accounts regularly, but, like, if you mail it, it might be a week or two before it even gets there, and before that there could be a lot of fraud on that," said Myers.

Police also advised against leaving checks in the mailbox overnight.

"The solution is to find these criminals and make it happen quickly and really make them pay and prosecute them, so hopefully the message will get out that Delray isn't going to tolerate this," said Perlman.