NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - When Brian Halbreich dropped his credit card payment like he always does into a mailbox in Queens he never thought it would end up in the wrong hands. But he soon found out that it did.
He later noticed that the check had been altered to be made out to "Nico Youngblood." But he didn't write that, so he contacted his bank to say that payment was bogus.
Now cops are warning residents all over Queens about a group of Bronx thieves who are reaching into mailboxes, fishing out envelopes with checks or bill payments, and altering them. They rub off the ink with acetone and fill in a new recipient with a valid bank account -- and sometimes a new dollar amount.
Typically, as what happened with Halbreich, the checks are cashed right away to avoid detection.
"We are aware of these issues and have arrested eight (8) individuals for this crime in the Jackson Heights area," a U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesperson said in a statement. "We continue to investigate criminal acts against the U.S. Mail, while implementing additional innovative methods to safeguard the mail."
The NYPD said several more cases have been reported in the Bronx.
Halbreich said that not only will he pay his bills online from now on, but he will also file a police report.