PUBLIC SAFETY: Despite widespread publicity, phone insurance scammers have continued to send packages to unsuspecting citizens that they can then snatch up, Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox warned today.
A William Way resident summoned Fox’s officers yesterday after seeing a black passenger “missing many teeth” get out of a blue van and snatch a package left at the front door of a neighbor’s home across the street.
“It is believed that they are having iPhones and other merchandise shipped to different addresses,” Fox said. “They then check the delivery tracking system and take the packages shortly after delivery.”
They and other thieves have been busy in North Jersey ever since last Christmas season.
In those cases when packages have already been broght in, runners have knocked on residents’ doors asking for them.
Investigators were exploring the possible connections between a Bronx couple arrested in Washington Township last month while trying to collect cellphones that scammers had sent to a local address and a 25-year-old Passaic man caught doing the same thing in Rochelle Park two days earlier.
Rochelle Park police responding to a call from a Rochelle Avenue resident that a strange man was banging on her door on March 11 said they found their suspect, Duany Perez-Clemente, talking to her neighbor.
Perez-Clemente told Sgt. Dan Urban and Officer Todd Starling that he was trying to retrieve a friend’s mailed cellphone, Detective James DePreta told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.
The caller said she found two packaged iPhones on her porch but didn’t recognize the names of whom they were addressed to.
Detectives who arrived soon after found two other packages of iPhones in Perez-Clemente’s car that had been mailed to a Passaic Street address in Maywood with two different names on the labels, DePreta said.
They contacted colleagues in Hillsdale, who found four more packages that Perez-Clemente had planned to pick up, he said. They also got a call from Maywood police, who said a resident reported receiving a cellphone that wasn’t ordered.
An insurance company had sent the phones as replacements to the various addresses after the scammers filed bogus claims, the detective said.
Using delivery apps, Perez-Clemente knew where and when they were being dropped off, DePreta said.
Washington Township police made similar arrests on March 13 ( SEE: Washington Township police make arrests in cellphone shipments to unsuspecting customers ).
Fox, the Wyckoff police chief, urged residents to immediately call police if:
You receive packages sent to your address but not in your name;
• Someone comes to your door looking to collect a delivered package;
• You see suspicious vehicles or people in your neighborhood.
Police DON’T MIND responding to these calls — it’s what they do. They would much rather respond to a false alarm that’s called in instantly than get there too late and fail to stop a criminal.
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