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Mail thefts hit 300 in Queens Village: Resident

Residents on 105th Avenue in Queens Village should not be the only ones concerned about identity theft after one homeowner discovered that stolen mail has affected 300 homes in the area.

Some residents of the block received a letter Feb. 25 from the United States Postal Inspection Service, telling them that “mail was stolen from your letter carrier’s route.”

A spokeswoman for the FBI said the agency was not involved in the investigation and would only take the lead in the probe if the Postal Inspection Service believes the theft was carried out by a criminal enterprise.

Charlton D’souza, a 105th Avenue resident who has been the most vocal about the stolen mail, said the letter carrier for his block told him last week that 300 homes were affected by the theft.

“We don’t know if people’s identity has been messed up,” D’souza said. “As residents, we’re trying to organize. We’re trying to get something done on this issue.”

Giovana Bomber, a resident of 105th Avenue, said she was shocked to hear about the missing mail.

“I thought it was strange,” she said. “To take it from the carrier, that’s strange. I figured our neighborhood was safe.”

Bomber said she thought about installing a more secure mailbox, even though that is not how the Postal Inspection Service said the theft occurred.

Yesult Belfort, the U.S. postal inspector who sent a letter notifying residents of the theft, said Tuesday that about 300 homes were affected.

“We don’t have an exact number because the mail truck was broken into,” she said, noting the investigation that started last month is still ongoing.

Maxine Blake, an 105th Avenue resident, said she did not receive her state income tax check, which she was expecting in the mail last month.

While Belfort said she did not hear about that specific complaint, others in the area called her about missing checks and credit cards.

“We’re still receiving calls from people that are actually missing checks and credit cards — something that can leave a paper trail,” she said.

Rance Huff, spokesman for City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), said the postmaster of the Jamaica Post Office notified his office about the situation roughly two weeks ago.

“Outside of that, we really don’t have much leeway,” Huff said. “We’re not an investigative agency. We can’t get involved in a federal investigation.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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