Thieves filmed stealing rent checks from West End apartment offices

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HENRICO, Va. -- Several men are accused of stealing rent checks and money orders from the deposit boxes of at least four Henrico apartment complexes in the Far West End.

These are surveillance photos of the suspected thieves caught in the act.

Investigators said the suspects inserted a "fishing" device coated with some type of adhesive substance and dropped it into the box.

"I just personally think it's an eye opener for all of the residents here and residents nearby," said Tzeira Fortune, a resident at Culpeper Farms, where four rent checks have reportedly been stolen.

"I always go to leasing office while it's open and drop the check off in the hands of somebody,” said Fortune. “So, they know I paid it.”

And that's exactly what police want you to do.

"There has been cases where they've actually found stuff still in the box that wasn't taken out that had something sticky on it," said Lt. Chris Eley, Henrico Police.

Lt. Chris Eley says you should avoid using money orders and pay by check.

"If you write with a gel pen it's harder to wash out the ink,” Lt. Eley said.  “If there is any space left on the amount line, on the two lines.”

Draw a line straight through,” he added. “So, if there's anything done with the check or tampered with, you can tell."

There were 12 checks reportedly stolen at another apartment complex, Lt. Eley said.

Fortune said she plans to follow the advice of police, for her own safety.

"You really don't want to risk compromising all of your information, having to close accounts, stop payment on checks and everything," said Fortune.

Management at Culpeper Farms have installed taller and more secure deposit boxes to avoid any more problems.

They are telling residents to make sure they write “Deposit Only” on the back of their checks.

If you have any information to help catch the suspects, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.