KISSIMMEE, Fla. - -Kissimmee police are warning renters that drop boxes have now become a target for rent-check thieves.
Officials said thieves have managed to slip into deposit boxes and steal rent checks across the city. All of the drop boxes are now closed or out of order at each of the five apartment complexes targeted just after the first of the month.
Police found something sticky all over most of the deposit boxes, leaving investigators to think the thieves are using something to reach inside and stick to the rent checks.
In total 38 checks were stolen in one weekend, according to police.
The apartments targeted include the Gables at Lakeside Apartments, Belleza Apartments, Tiffany Square Apartments and The Park at Sorrento. An attempt may have been made at Regatta Bay.
"That's my hard-earned money that I'm paying for to afford my home and it's kind of jeopardized. It's kind of scary," said Justin Parker, who didn't know his apartment complex had been hit until Local 6 showed him the sign outside his apartment management office.
Police released pictures of two men who they said they believe stole dozens of rent checks. Security video shows one man act as lookout while the other worked for 10 minutes to grab checks or money orders, said a media release issued by Kissimmee police.
Local 6 discovered the crime may not be new to the area. Some apartments stopped accepting checks in the drop box months ago. "Several months ago I dropped my checks off and then found out my checks had been stolen," said a woman named Jessica B.
She said after thieves stole her rent from the deposit box at the Gables at Lakeside Apartments, the office tried to change the box to make it more secure. But thieves have come back again, apparently with a new trick to get around the newly secured deposit boxes.
Some renters said they wonder if their rent was ever paid; others said they may never use a drop box again.
"I'll just personally give it to them, so I know that they're getting it," said Jessica.
Each of the apartment companies that were robbed are making tenants pay in person.
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