2005-09-29 / Front Page

PAIR CAUGHT IN MAIL THEFTS

Douglas James (left), 41, and Joseph Ohi, 43, were caught after they were allegedly stealing items from local mailboxes, police said.  Postal Service agents joined 69th Precinct officers in stakeouts and nabbed the pair in the act.  
Douglas James (left), 41, and Joseph Ohi, 43, were caught after they were allegedly stealing items from local mailboxes, police said. Postal Service agents joined 69th Precinct officers in stakeouts and nabbed the pair in the act. By Charles Rogers

Police from the 69th Precinct were joined by federal agents from the U.S. Postal Service this week as they ar-rested two men suspected of stealing mail out of individual mailboxes, ap-parently for the purpose of acquiring fraudulent identities.

According to Captain Ralph Mon-teforte, commanding officer of the local precinct, Douglas James, 41, and Joseph Ohi, 43, were charged with robbery after they were caught alleg-edly red-handed taking mail out of boxes on a Canarsie street. To protect victims, the street locations were not named.

“We received the information about the suspects when the mail carrier who was delivering in the area saw the suspects supposedly putting flyers in various boxes,” said Monteforte. “He noticed, however, that as they put the flyers in the boxes, they were taking mail out.”

The precinct commander said Pos-tal Service authorities were informed, a stakeout was arranged, and the suspects were picked up “within the past few weeks.”

“We found a number of items be-longing to various victims at the homes of the suspects,” he said, “including credit cards, debit cards and bank statements. We and the postal authorities are continuing to investigate just how far these guys went in stealing people’s identity.”

He commended the postal worker who saw the suspects. He also said the federal officers were leaving further prosecution up to local authorities.

Monteforte said the suspects are being charged only with going through the mailboxes right now and that federal prosecution “is still being reviewed.”

“All of this also goes to warn people about watching their mailboxes,” Monteforte said. “By all indications, you should remove your mail from your mailbox as soon as possible after the mailman leaves. If you see somebody looking through your mailbox, call 911 immediately.”

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