Brazen thieves behind the rise of mail theft across the Sutherland Shire

Taking action: Rob Wever said thieves are targeting mail boxes at unit blocks at Sylvania. Picture: John Veage

Taking action: Rob Wever said thieves are targeting mail boxes at unit blocks at Sylvania. Picture: John Veage

Brazen.

That’s how Rob Wever describes thieves who have targeted mailboxes along Corea Street in Sylvania over the last few months.

The street has been targeted several times with cheques, parcels and bank letters going missing.

Mr Wever said the problem had been happening for months but had ramped up in the last five weeks.

He said a masterkey had been used initially with mailboxes opened and left like that. In recent weeks they had been jimmied open with a screwdriver.

‘’These people are determined,’’ he said.

‘’It’s blatant.

‘’We’ve put up signs and warned about CCTV but they just don’t seem to care.’’

It’s a trend that is happening throughout the state with NSW Police establishing links between residential mail theft and international identity thieves.

The head of the State Crime Command Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, Arthur Katsogiannis, says on the surface it might seem like petty crime but local criminals, known as “boxers,” are selling the stolen identity documents to international syndicates.

“Information from documents such as bank statements and utility bills is then used by the overseas criminals to apply for large loans in the names of their unwitting victims, thereby defrauding financial institutions,” he said.

“Often the street-level thieves are equipped with specially-modified tools to pry open apartment block letter boxes, robbing scores of victims at once.

“Others are using master keys that open dozens of letter boxes at a time.

“The low level thieves tend to keep any credit cards they find to fraudulently purchase goods for later re-sale whilst the identity documents are provided to the international identity theft operations for the larger frauds.’’

Ace Body Corporate Management provides body corporate management service to over 60,000 strata property lots nationwide.

CEO Stephen Raff said it was important that owners stay vigilant.

“Owners corporations simply must be one step ahead when it comes to property security,’’ he said.

“More often than not, poor processes, rather than poor security resources are the biggest downfall in property security.”

Residents should use padlocks on their letter boxes or install improved locks and where possible clear mail regularly.

Residents should also re-direct mail or have their friends collect their letters if they going away on holidays.

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