UES 'mailbox fishing' suspects caught with $84k in stolen checks | Upper East Site, NYPD (inset)
UES 'mailbox fishing' suspects caught with $84k in stolen checks | Upper East Site, NYPD (inset)

UES ‘Mailbox Fishing’ Suspects Caught Red-Handed with $84k in Checks: NYPD

Some eagle-eyed cops spotted something fishy in the early morning hours on the Upper East Side late last week and reeled in a pair of alleged thieves who were ‘mailbox fishing’ in the cover of night, police say. 

Police say the suspects were 'mailbox fishing' on Madison Avenue at East 75th Street | Upper East Site
Police say the suspects were ‘mailbox fishing’ on Madison Avenue at East 75th Street | Upper East Site

Investigators say it was just before 3:30 am on Thursday, September 15th, when officers saw one of the suspects, dressed in all black with a black mask, fishing for envelopes inside one of the big blue USPS mailboxes at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 75th Street. 

Stolen mail can be seen outside of the mailbox | NYPD
Stolen mail can be seen outside of the mailbox | NYPD

At the same time one suspect was using what appears to be a men’s belt with one end covered in duct tape— with the adhesive side facing outward— to steal from the mailbox sitting in front of Frick Madison museum, The Frick Collection’s temporary home, police say he was talking to a second suspect across the street.

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Once they noticed the officers were onto them, police said the duo high-tailed it from the Lenox Hill intersection, trying to get back to their car– but were collared by the fleet-of-foot patrolmen.

The USPS mailboxes are located in front of Frick Madison | Upper East Site
The USPS mailboxes are located in front of Frick Madison | Upper East Site

After making the arrest, police say they found the suspect’s getaway car as well, a gray Honda with $84,000 in checks stolen from the mail inside.

Mykola Popadynets, 24, of Mahopac, New York and Jashawn Deroux, 20, of the Bronx, are now facing several charges, including grand larceny, possession of stolen property, criminal tampering, possession of burglar tools and reckless endangerment of property, police tell Upper East Site.

Officers captured the 'mailbox fishing' suspects after a brief chase | NYPD
Officers captured the ‘mailbox fishing’ suspects after a brief chase | NYPD

The NYPD has long warned the public to beware of ‘mailbox fishing’ attempts, where crooks use sticky objects to pull envelopes out of curbside USPS mailboxes in search of checks that can be altered and cashed by thieves.

The best way to avoid falling victim to ‘mailbox fishing’ is to drop your checks off at the Post Office, or at least drop them in the USPS mailbox as close to pickup time as possible– which is listed on the blue USPS mailbox itself. 

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Handing your mail directly to a postal carrier is also an option, police say, as well as using permanent ink on any checks you mail, so thieves cant easily remove your writing and replace it with their own.

In an unrelated ‘mailbox fishing’ case earlier this year, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell didn’t mince words for anyone thinking of becoming the wrong kind of angler.

Police say the suspects used a belt to fish mail out of the mailbox | Upper East Site
Police say the suspects used a belt to fish mail out of the mailbox | Upper East Site

“Mailbox fishing is a very serious crime – where victims are often unaware that a theft has been committed until months later,” she explained.

“In conjunction with our law-enforcement partners, the NYPD will identify you, will arrest you, and will deliver justice.”

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    3 Comments

    1. This is horrible. Mykola Popadynets and his friend are criminals and need to be held accountable for terrorizing New York City.

    2. The post office created these new mailboxes because the old ones where the slot opened and you could put big envelopes in there were being robbed. These new ones were supposed to be theft-proof. I guess nothing is. It’s disgusting. Isn’t this a federal offense? If it is, they should get many years in federal prison.

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