Criminal Activity Prompts Removal Of Mail Boxes

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Sep 292020

Last week, the two conveniently placed mail drop-off boxes in the rear of the Orange Post Office at 36 Old Tavern Road, along with others around town, suddenly disappeared
Some may think it’s one of Donald Trump’s “evil” plans to interfere with the upcoming election, as was expressed on social media. (Police and the First Selectman denied this rumor).
What Actually Happened?
A couple of local Facebook posts reported that checks had been stolen from the boxes, were washed, and rewritten (on the real owner’s account) for a different amount.
But Old Tavern wasn’t the only location from which this occurred.
This was verified by First Selectman Jim Zeoli, who stated that a town employee had dropped mail off at 8 a.m. outside of Town Hall and by 10:30 a.m. someone was trying to pass fraudulent checks from his account, adding, “There have been multiple cases from post office drop boxes.”
Zeoli said the mail theft prompted the removal of these boxes and “They will be replaced with a more secure version.”
Asst. Police Chief Max Martins said the department has received several complaints since last week, and that the same thing is happening throughout the state.
“Some checks are being cashed locally, but they’ve also been used out of state,” he said.
This is an ongoing investigation on which several agencies are working to solve.
For the time being, Martins suggests bringing your mail inside the post office building or handing it to a postal carrier directly when you need to send something, even though it may not be as convenient as a drive-by mail dropbox or leaving it in your mailbox for pick up.
He added that the new, more secure models should be installed soon, which would bring you back the convenience and the sense of security when paying bills, sending important paperwork, or returning your mail-in ballots.
Good Advice
On the You Know You’re From Orange Facebook page, resident Mary Hurley suggested that everyone “Follow up with your bank statements. Look for checks cashed by unknown Payees or for different amounts than intended. It might also be a good idea to follow up with intended recipients to make sure they received the checks (ex: look up your utility bill online and make sure they show your check posted).
“If you discover any fraud, get copies of the cashed checks from the bank. File a police report. You can also file a report with the postmaster if you believe the fraud happened through the mail,” she wrote.
Editor’s Note:
2020 was a very strange year, between the virus that kept us locked up at home for several months; disrupted our children’s educational routine; forced the cancellation of every traditional event (fairs, carnivals, plays, etc.) in town, and brought us to cast doubt on the way our country is being run, it was natural for the first thought on the mailbox removal to be that the Trump administration and his distrust in mail-in ballots (even though he votes by mail) was the reason for their sudden disappearance just weeks before the election. – Not the case, though.
Be assured that the Postal Service and several police departments throughout the state are working on this situation, (Orange is NOT the only town affected)

Chatting With Members Of The OPD at Coffee With A Cop

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Oct 042017

Police Chief Robert Gagne, Officer Carolyn Bailey, and future Asst Police Chief Max Martins.

The Orange Police made themselves available to the public this morning at Chip’s Restaurant.

This is the second time that Chief Robert Gagne and members of the OPD participated in the annual Coffee with a Cop event (about 167 other departments also participated in their communities). The back room at the restaurant was never crowded but people came in waves, talked to an officer or two, had a cup of coffee and then went on with his or her day.

Among the officers on hand were Lt. Max Martins, a 22-year department veteran, who will be sworn in as the new Assistant Chief next Wednesday morning and Carolyn Bailey, who is the new department Public Information/DARE officer.

Chief Gagne has nothing but praise for both of them, expressing his full confidence in their abilities.

He said Officer Bailey has many great ideas and already is doing a great job in her new position.

NOTE: We look forward to working with Asst Chief Martins (after his inauguration) and Officer Bailey both of whom we’ve known for many years. We know they will be terrific.

The Coffee with a Cop event is really a great opportunity for the public to get to know the members of the Orange Police Department. We hope that it will grow in popularity in the future.