More thefts from mailboxes were reported in Massachusetts, this time in Arlington and Weston, where police said the crimes are “occurring constantly all over our area.”
Via Facebook, Weston police said a mailbox on Colpitts Road was “broken into once again” on Sunday night. Officers caught sight of the suspects at one point but they managed to get away.
Officers “were in the area and immediately located the suspect vehicle, which evaded the police at high, unsafe speeds and was not able to be stopped,” police said. “The vehicle then went directly to a post office in Arlington where they broke into that mailbox as well and subsequently were pursued by Arlington Police into Medford, when the suspects got away again.”
A mailbox at 10 Court St. in Arlington was broken into around 2 a.m. Monday, and an undetermined amount of mail was stolen, Arlington police said in a statement.
The US Postal Inspection Service, Arlington police, and other police departments in the region are investigating the incident, thefts that have previously occurred at this location, and similar thefts from other mailboxes across the region, the statement said.
And if you dropped a bill in the mail on Colpitts Road in Weston or Court Street in Arlington over the weekend, it likely didn’t reach its destination, police in both towns said.
“If you put checks into the mailbox on Colpitts Rd anytime between Friday afternoon and this morning, assume that they have been stolen and will likely be altered and result in a forgery against your account,” Weston police said. ”We strongly urge you to cancel these checks and notify your bank immediately.”
At this point, people are advised to go inside a post office to mail letters, officials said.
“We would further recommend never using outside mail drop boxes, as this crime is occurring constantly all over our area,” Weston police said. “We have unfortunately been fielding these types of fraud reports from victims almost daily. Your safest bet is to bring mail inside the post office for delivery.”
It’s not just a problem in Weston and Arlington.
“It seems like it’s pretty rampant across the state,” said Mattapoisett Police Chief Jason King in an interview with the Globe in December, when he estimated that altered checks stolen from town totaled more than $250,000.
Additional thefts at the time were reported in Needham and Wellesley, and a theft in Weston was reported in November.
Authorities say criminals turn stolen checks into cash through a process known as “check washing.” Scammers have been known to use chemicals to remove ink from checks so they can change the payee names and dollar amounts before depositing or cashing them, or they use copiers or scanners to print out fake checks.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report. Correspondent Claire Law contributed reporting.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.