SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) -The Springfield Police Department arrested a man after a months-long investigation into check fraud and identity theft.
Springfield Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News police arrested 31-year-old Eric Encarnacion-Medina outside the U.S. Post Office on Belmont Avenue in Springfield Monday.
Walsh said over the past few months police have seen an uptick in reports of check fraud and identity theft. Checks and money orders were allegedly being stolen and the recipients’ names were allegedly being changed and cashed into fraudulent accounts.
Detectives working with Springfield crime analysts noticed a pattern and learned that a majority of the checks were mailed from two local post offices, one on State Street and another on Belmont Avenue.
According to Walsh, surveillance video outside the two post offices showed a suspect using a key to open the blue mailboxes and stealing the contents inside of them.
Postal inspectors told the Springfield Police Department that an organized group with ties to New York City have been engaging in similar crimes throughout the New York and New Jersey area. Numerous arrests have been made in those states.
Walsh told 22News police saw surveillance video of Encarnacion-Medina breaking into a postal mailbox and attempting to steal its contents on Monday. That’s when Walsh said undercover detectives went after Encarnacion-Medina, who allegedly started running away.
Walsh said the suspect ran into a light pole during the chase, and police were able to stop him on Oakland Street to take him into custody.
Police say Encarnacion-Medina was the person responsible for breaking into a postal mailbox on State Street on June 24.
Encarnacion-Medina of Bronx, New York, is charged with two counts of breaking into a depository, two counts of larceny over $1,200 and two counts of possession of a burglarious instrument.