SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After a months-long investigation, Springfield police arrested Eric Encarnacion-Medina outside the Belmont Avenue Post Office this week.

Surveillance cameras were set up outside the State Street and Belmont Ave. post offices showed the Bronx resident using a key to open mailboxes and stealing the contents. The arrest has people thinking twice about mailing any kind of money.

“It does definitely and anytime I would mail something, not specific to this mailbox, but I would always mail it from inside,” said Ann Harper.

Checks and money orders were being stolen, the recipients’ names changed, and were cashed in fraudulent accounts.

22News spoke with a U.S. Postal Inspector who said in order to open the mailboxes you need a specialized key called an arrow key. Unless you’re are a postal worker, just being in possession of this key is a felony.

Ryan Walsh Springfield Police Spokesman told 22News, “So the banks become the victims in cases where there are checks money orders it’s a little more difficult detectives are trying to work with the federal governments to try and get people reimbursed but in these cases they did nothing wrong so there is nothing differently they could do.”

Unfortunately, there is not a lot these victims could have done to protect themselves against this from happening. It’s recommended you pay bills online or in person to avoid sending money through the mail.

Eric Encarnacion-Medina is charged with breaking into those mailboxes, and larceny over $1,200