Locals took to Facebook on Monday, June 26, to celebrate after news broke regarding the arrests of two suspected mail thieves who have been wreaking havoc in Maspeth.
News of the arrests made by United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Postal Inspectors, alongside the NYPD’s 104th Precinct, was shared in a now-viral post on the Juniper Valley, Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood area Facebook group, with several commenters applauding the news.
A USPIS spokesperson confirmed the arrest with QNS, but no details of the arrests could be shared.
“We are working diligently with NYPD on this investigation. To protect the integrity of the investigation, no details will be provided,” USPIS wrote in an emailed response.
The 104th Precinct also posted about the arrest Monday afternoon on Twitter.
Today, US postal Inspectors have arrested two individuals at 60th Road and Mount Olivet Cres. for stealing mail. pic.twitter.com/P2KkqiGgDS
— NYPD 104th Precinct (@NYPD104Pct) June 26, 2023
Photos of the alleged thieves and video of their arrest were first shared with QNS by a Maspeth resident who wished to be identified as Hubert K.
Postal Inspectors could be seen on video taking the two suspects from a black van and images captured the two thieves in handcuffs near 60th Road and Mt. Olivet Crescent in Maspeth.
Another video shared by Facebook user and Maspeth resident Jon Brewsky also captured officers with both mail thieves in handcuffs.
“They’re lucky the police got them and not the people,” said one Facebook user.
“Thanks finally,” another Facebook commenter added.
The victory against these alleged mail thieves was a long-time coming, especially for Maspeth resident Joseph Croce, who began sharing video footage of the mail thieves in his neighborhood on Facebook.
The 30-year-old sanitation worker and family man said he noticed the mail wasn’t getting delivered to his home on a regular basis. Only after checking the footage from his security camera facing 60th Road and Mt Olivet Crescent in Maspeth, around November last year did he realize what was actually happening.
“I go through the cameras on Nov. 25, 2022. We got that footage of a car pulling up, they get out, they have their own key, they open the relay boxes, one bag each and they’re gone in like 30 seconds,” said Croce. “It didn’t happen a while the rest of that winter as far as I can tell, but it really ramped up starting in May.”
The green relay mailboxes targeted by these postal pirates are used by mail carriers as a mail pick-up site when the postal office is too far to make another trip. The only way to open these boxes is with a special key, which the mail thieves were witnessed using.
Croce captured video of the mail pirates in the act on May 12, 19, 22, and 30. He shared those videos on the Facebook page, as well as any screenshots he had.
Video footage shared with QNS often showed an unidentified male walking toward the relay mailbox on the sidewalk, taking what was inside and fleeing in a white Audi. Other instances showed a black/grey vehicle driving the mail thief away from the scene.
“I’m positive at this point it’s like an organization that does this. I mean, they have guys go out and do it everywhere. They all meet up at one place at the end of the day. it’s not just like a couple of guys who happen to have a key.” Croce said. “Because as soon as those first guys got scared off a different group of guys came like couple weeks later and then the original guys came the week after that.”
After Croce posted camera footage of the mail thieves in action online, he said he heard from Congresswoman Grace Meng’s office and Councilman Robert Holden’s office. He also heard from neighbors who were also fed up with their mail going missing.
“Without that footage, there would be nothing being done about this,” said Croce, in an interview with QNS before the suspects’ arrest. Now, Croce, like many in the area, says he was just glad these crooks were caught.
Anyone with information pertaining to mail crime is encouraged to contact the USPIS at 877-876-2455 (say “Law Enforcement”) or via Twitter, @PostalInspector.