REGO PARK, Queens (WABC) -- A man is facing multiple charges after police say he was caught red-handed mail-fishing -- and now authorities are warning the crime is on the rise.
Travis Everett, 25, is facing charges of criminal possession of stolen property, identity theft and burglary.
Police say he used a shoelace attached to batteries with duct tape and rat trap glue to "go fishing" inside a big blue postal service mailbox
Authorities found 346 stolen checks in the suspect's car, amounting to about $400,000.
Officials say this crime is happening more frequently.
The 112th Precinct said they had 16 cases in 2017, but so far this year, there have been 137 incidents.
In one case last May, police say thieves even tried to steal a whole mailbox.
"We are always on the forefront of trying to deter these crimes," said a spokesperson for the Postal Inspector.
While some mailboxes are retrofitted to deter mail fishing, police say during the busy holiday mail season, it is safer to send mail directly from the post office. It is also a good idea to write checks in permanent ink.
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Man accused of 'mail-fishing' $400K of stolen checks in Queens