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Medford man arrested after allegedly trying to break into USPS mailbox in Chestnut Hill

A Brookline Police cruiser. Photo by Zoe Zekos
July 10, 2024

Brookline police arrested a 25-year-old man early Monday morning for attempting to break into a United States Postal Service mailbox in Chestnut Hill.

Olivier Josinvil of Medford was charged with one count of breaking and entering, one count of possession of a burglarious tool, one count of malicious damage of property, and one count of receiving stolen property, according to court records.

At 2:20 a.m. on Monday, Brookline police were notified of a person breaking and entering a mailbox in front of the Putterham Shops on West Roxbury Parkway, according to a police report written by officer Shinai Hattori.

Surveillance footage showed a man in black clothing wearing a facemask and crouching by a mailbox, who police later identified as Josinvil, according to the police report.

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Paul Campbell, a deputy superintendent at the Brookline Police Department, said Josinvil had attempted the mailbox break-in using a stolen arrow key, which is a universal key used by postal workers to open mailboxes. Surveillance footage from Monday morning shows Josinvil attempting to open the mailbox in front of the Putterham Shops and hiding each time a car drove by, the police report stated.

At 2:23 a.m., Josinvil was seen intentionally breaking the key while it was in the mailbox and walking away, and he was later apprehended by police, according to the report.

Police also found debit cards belonging to four different people in the vehicle Josinvil was using, according to Campbell.

“It is suspected that these debit cards may be evidence of other crimes,” Campbell wrote in an email statement to Brookline.News.

Brookline Police detectives have been investigating mail theft alongside the US Postal Inspection Service since November 2023, when two men were arrested in Brookline for stealing over 1,000 pieces of mail. The arrests included a high-speed car chase across Wellesley and Newton before ending in Brookline.

Campbell said mail theft is on the rise both in Brookline and across the nation. He also said the public should be aware of “check washing,” a scam often used by mail thieves to digitally manipulate a stolen check.

To avoid check washing, residents should use black ink GEL pens and drop mailed checks at the post office or in a mailbox before the last pickup time, according to a Facebook post made by BPD.