Police Log: Mailbox Fishing of Tuition Check and Other Stories


Image by Westwood Minute/Darlene Wong Cancell.

The news described in Westwood Minute's weekly Police Log article series is primarily based on selected information from the Westwood Police Department's daily log and information provided by Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and police staff. Occasionally, a few facts from other sources may be woven into these stories.

Sunday, February 4th

Mailbox Vandalized

1:56 p.m. An officer on patrol found a mailbox knocked down at a Far Reach Road residence. The officer attempted to contact the homeowner, but no one responded.

Credit Cards, Wallet Stolen While Shopping

4:32 p.m. An officer met with a 71 year-old woman from Mattapan who believed her wallet and credit cards were stolen while shopping at the HomeGoods store on University Avenue.

The victim told the officer that she entered the store around 3:30 p.m. About half an hour later, she received a text from her credit card company regarding a charge of over $1,500 at the Apple store in Dedham’s Legacy Place. She learned that a second credit card was charged $2,200, and a third credit card was also charged an unspecified amount. All three cards had been stored in her wallet, which was now missing.

The victim recalled placing her wallet in her purse and the purse into a store shopping cart. She did not recall when the purse might have been left unattended.

Saturday, February 3rd

Suspicious Bitcoin Transaction

10:17 a.m. A resident of Washington Street informed police that on the previous day, she received an email from “Best Buy Geek Squad” regarding a transaction for internet security for $499.99. It contained directions to contact the Geek Squad to complete the transaction. The resident called the phone number provided and was informed that it was actually $4,999.99 that was owed, as it had been credited to the resident’s account, and that the amount should be returned.

Upon asking to speak to a supervisor, the resident was transferred to a “Richard Barker.” The person identified as “Richard Barker” knew the names of the resident’s banks and had partial account information.

The resident followed instructions to make withdrawals from her bank accounts and convert them to $6,800 in bitcoin at an ATM in Norwood.  She sent the bitcoin to an “unknown bitcoin address.”

Later, upon discussion the interaction with family and realizing it was a scam, the resident closed her bank accounts. Westwood Police have attempted to call the suspects at the phone number, but it has been disconnected.

Computer Monitor Stolen from Package Delivery Space

1:26 p.m. A resident of the Gables University Station apartments reported the theft of a 27” Dell computer monitor from the package delivery area of the apartment complex. The resident reported returning from a Christmas vacation on December 29th and discovering that the expected package containing the monitor was not to be found in the parcel delivery area. A photo of the completed delivery was provided by the package delivery company. The complainant noted that the package was clearly labelled as containing a monitor. It was valued at $397.

Surprise Delivery

5:33 p.m. A resident of Far Reach Road reported the unexpected find of an “army knife” inside the package containing a keyboard which the resident had ordered. After speaking with police, the resident decided to retain the knife for now.

Friday, February 2nd

Mailbox Fishing of Tuition Check

1:34 p.m. An officer responded to a residence on Longmeadow Drive, where a resident reported possible mailbox fishing. The resident informed police that on December 17th last year, the resident mailed a check to a local university to pay for a family member’s tuition. However, a few months later on February 1st, the resident received a university communication stating that the payment had not been received.

Upon checking with the resident’s bank, the resident discovered that the tuition check had been altered and cashed. The bank is investigating the case as check fraud.

Police from the City of Newton have been alerted to possible tampering with mail at a Newton location. This case continues to be investigated.

Arrest for Driving with Suspended License

4:43 p.m. An officer conducting stationary traffic enforcement ran a query on the license plate of a passing vehicle and discovered that its owner’s driver’s license had been suspended. The officer made the traffic stop on East Street. The driver admitted to being aware of the suspension. He was arrested and cited for operating after a suspension. He was later released on bail.

Thursday, February 1st

Unexpected Break-Up

12:11 a.m. A man requested assistance from Westwood Police in removing a female from his vehicle. Police found the caller and the female outside a grey Mercedes Benz, parked outside the front entrance of the Amtrak station on University Avenue.

The complainant told police that he had broken up with the female and that she was having trouble accepting the breakup. The female explained that she had arrived on the train from Connecticut and had been surprised at the breakup conversation that they had upon her arrival.

Both individuals told police that the argument was verbal and not physical. The man was sent on his way and the female was transported to Hampton Inn on Route 1 in Norwood.

Police noted that this incident is similar to one police responded to about nine months ago, involving the same two individuals.

Wednesday, January 31st

Groundhog Gets Reprieve

11:06 a.m. Westwood Police’s animal control officer took the report of a resident of Brookfield Road who found a large, 12” wide hole in the resident’s yard. The animal control officer explained that such a hole, without dirt piled around its opening, was likely the work of a groundhog. The resident plans to avoid the hole until a company dealing in nuisance wildlife is able to intervene in the spring.

Tuesday, January 30th

Attempt to Track Down a Missing Cell Phone

11:45 p.m. An officer responded to a private home on High Street to meet the owner of a cell phone who claimed to have lost it in while shopping in Braintree. The woman used an application to locate her phone and believed it was at the 1200 block of Westwood’s High Street. 

The woman, who spoke little English, was accompanied by her teenage daughter and police when she knocked at the door of the High Street address where she believed her phone to be located. 

Two residents at the address stated that they had not been to Braintree. They stated that all of the phones in the home belonged to them.

Employee Accused of Stealing Store Cash

12:24 p.m. At the Seasons convenience store of Shell gas station on Providence Highway, an officer met with loss prevention staff regarding employee theft. When a final count was conducted at closing time, $71 was discovered to be missing from the store’s cash repository. A review of store video strongly implicated a store employee. Loss prevention staff informed police that the store’s management would be meeting with the employee, and requested that a police report be made for future reference.

Monday, January 29th

Unknown Projectile Breaks Glass of Moving Vehicle

3:58 p.m. A Westwood Police officer responded to Lambert’s Plaza parking lot on Providence Highway where a motorist believed he had been shot at by a firearm. The driver, a man from Dedham, reported travelling south on Route 1 and making a U-turn into the parking lot. He heard a loud sound which he believed was a gunshot, followed by hearing his rear window break.

The officer examined the windshield, which had cracked in the pattern of a spider web. There was a very small, circular outline on the cracked window which is thought to have been made by an object striking the window.

However, no foreign object, bullet, or projectile was found inside the vehicle. Police investigated the general area but did not find anything suspicious.

Was It a Hit-and-Run?

5:34 p.m. Norwood Police requested assistance from Westwood Police in locating a vehicle involved in a crash in Norwood. The vehicle’s license plate was registered to a resident of Westwood’s Highland Glen apartments. Minutes after the call, the vehicle was located in Norwood and Norwood Police cancelled the request.

Thanks to Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and the Westwood Police Department for contributing information for this article.

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