Waterbury man who stole checks from Ellington Post Office collection box sentenced to probation

Responding to customers’ complaints, the U.S. Postal Service in February 2021 installed a surveillance camera outside the Ellington Post Office. The camera caught Hooper using a Postal Service “arrow key” to open the box. He was not charged with stealing the key, but the keys have been robbed from Connecticut mail carriers and sold on the black market, authorities say.

Hooper stole mail from the box four times in February and March, including many checks, federal authorities said. Evidence showed he tried, and succeeded in some cases, to steal more than $40,000 from his victims, prosecutors said.

The mode of operation was similar in each case: Checks were altered to show larger amounts and then deposited into bogus bank accounts, authorities said. For example, a woman mailed a check from her daughter for $216 to pay a Verizon bill on March 21, 2021. The woman’s mother handles her bill payments because the victim is a truck driver and is often on the road, prosecutors said. Hooper stole mail containing the check the next day. The amount on the check was changed to $3,000, and it cleared the victim’s bank account on March 23, officials said


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