Mail thieves using clever tricks in Boca Raton
BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBS 12) —
A sophisticated criminal network police say they have creative techniques for blending in with successful, upper-middle-class families.
But one of the suspected crooks is off the streets, police say they caught him red-handed and he's giving investigators a playbook on how he and his partners operate.
Police say it all starts with the mailbox. And they say be wary of flashy cars.
"They come through with really heavily tinted windows, so you really can't see inside," said Larry Sugar, President of his neighborhood association.
Larry loves the people, loves the area, in the Strathmore community, but he knows this part of Boca Raton is a hotbed for thieves.
That's because the neighborhoods of St Andrews Blvd. aren't gated, and many of the families there are doing well.
"We had Boca police in the neighborhood, in unmarked cars, driving in the community specifically because of that," Sugar said.
6 months ago there was a rash of daytime home break-ins, they stopped, but a new crime pattern is popping up.
And 32-year-old Michael Merisier Junior, facing multiple charges, is telling police a lot about it.
A patrolling officer spotted Merisier cruising around in his car, on NW 31st street, the officer asked for some ID and Merisier began rifling through his wallet.
Police say he had 13 stolen credit cards, stolen checks, and documents containing lots of people's personal information.
In the Boca police report, the responding officer wrote about all the details Merisier coughed up, that he is just a middleman, he goes to the houses that other guys watch, learning the comings and going's of the families.
Merisier allegedly confessed stealing mail is quite lucrative, he made 6,000 bucks in three months.
Merisier was driving a BMW, and allegedly told police that his accomplices also drive high-end cars, so they don't look out of place in well-to-do neighborhoods.
Police are now working to make more arrests to track down the rest of Merisier's outfit.
"Anytime we go out of town, we cancel the mail, put it on hold, and it's delivered the day we return," Sugar said.
And police even suggest getting a PO Box if you have a lot of personal information coming through the mail.