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Photo via Twitter/@NYPD111Pct
A warning label recently posted on a local mailbox

Local authorities have arrested a Forest Hills man as crime prevention efforts continue amid a spate of mail theft incidents in Bayside.

Frank Akinnuoye, 50, of Yellowstone Boulevard was arrested on June 27 and charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, according to law enforcement sources.

Authorities said Akinnuoye was arrested in front of a residence on 42nd Avenue between Bell Boulevard and 214th Place after he was allegedly seen stealing from residential mailboxes in the area.

The arrest comes during a rash of mail thefts throughout Bayside and Flushing in recent weeks. According to the 111th Precinct, checks have been reported stolen and fraudulently cashed from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mailboxes at 188th Street and 48th Avenue, Bell Boulevard and 35th Avenue and in front of the Flushing and Bayside Post Offices.

Most recently, the crime trend has moved east and south, with checks reported fraudulently cashed after being lifted from mailboxes at 51-60 Marathon Pkwy., the corner of Marathon Parkway and Northern Boulevard, 250-10 Northern Blvd., the corner of 73rd Avenue and Springfield Boulevard and the intersection of 64th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard, police said.

During mail fishing incidents, thieves attach objects dipped in a sticky substance to fishing line and drop them into USPS mailboxes. Envelopes inserted into the mailbox by local residents then stick to the object and are easily pulled out by crooks. The crime is usually conducted during nighttime hours.

Perpetrators then use an acetone wash to remove the ink from the stolen checks in order to alter payee and monetary value.

Locals are being encouraged to drop off any mail containing checks, money orders or tax returns inside of their local post office. Check your account balance frequently to ensure that there has been no suspicious activity, police said, and write checks with gel impact pens, which contain ink that is difficult to erase.

The USPS, at the request of local lawmakers, recently began installing security devices on the borough’s USPS mailboxes to prevent further thefts. These improvements are making their way toward Bayside, authorities said.

Authorities from the precinct commended officers on Twitter for arresting Akinnuoye at the scene of the crime on June 28.

“Great work by sector David NCO, PO Foran, and Crime Prevention Officer Stine for arresting a man stealing mail from private, residential mailboxes on 214 Place yesterday. #NeighborhoodPolicing,” the tweet reads.

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