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Long Branch Woman Arrested On Theft, Forgery Charges

Police say woman stole checks from mailboxes, cashed them

A Long Branch woman has been arrested and charged in connection with mailbox theft and check forgery, police said Thursday

Helen J. Darden, 43, of Rockwell Ave., was arrested and charged May 11th with fourth degree theft by deception, two counts of third degree forgery and two counts of uttering a forged document, according to a release from  Lt. Walter Pomphrey.

Darden was transferred to Monmouth County Jail, Freehold Township, in lieu of $26,000 bail. Charges were also filed by , Pomphrey said.

Darden was being held Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bail on theft, forgery and child endangerment charges out of Howell, according to jail records.

Darden's arrest was a joint effort between township authorities and the Howell Police Department and solves at least two of a string of six ongoing forgery investigations, Pomphrey said.

The arrest stems from a cooperative investigation with Howell Detective Nancy Carroll, investigating various thefts from mailboxes during the month of April and May, Pomphrey said.

Checks stolen from mailboxes were then  “washed out” and issued in Darden's name and cashed at local banks.  Wall Police are investigating a half dozen postal thefts, two of which are cleared by Darden's arrest, Pomphrey said.

Criminal complaints signed by Det. Sean O’Halloran charge Darden with altering checks on separate occasions by increasing the amount on one from $50 to $1500 but leaving the original amount on the second at $350, Pomphrey said.

Police are continuing to investigate mailbox thefts. Additional arrests are expected, Pomphrey said.

Police are asking residents to call (732)-449-4500 and report any suspicious activity, Pomphrey said.

MailBoss May 26, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Police often catch people who steal checks from outgoing mail, because when they try to fraudulently cash them they are on surveillance video, etc. However, thieves commonly target incoming mail as well, to find pertinent information for identity theft. Most victims do not realize their mail has been stolen. And in fact, research indicates the majority of ID theft victims have no idea how their information was compromised. To protect against mail-identity theft, people need to secure incoming mail with a quality locking mailbox, and be vigilant about not sending sensitive documents or checks from an unsecured mailbox. As always, shred sensitive documents that come in the mail before discarding them as well.

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