In response to an increase in stolen checks, the Village of Winnetka has moved and upgraded its utility-payment dropbox.
The new dropbox is located in the drive-thru at BMO Harris Bank, 520 Green Bay Road, which is just north of Village Hall and a couple blocks from the previous dropbox outside the Winnetka Post Office.
Village Communications Manager Josie Clark said the new location is well-lit and monitored by the bank’s cameras, “which is a step up from what we were able to offer previously.” The dropbox itself also contains “anti-theft mechanisms,” she said.
Residents use the dropbox to submit payment for Village bills, such as water and refuse. Clark said between 50 and 100 payments come through the dropbox each month.
The Village of Winnetka’s dropbox at the post office was burglarized in December 2021, after which the Village warned residents “if you mailed an item between December 26 and December 28, 2021, it is likely the item was stolen.”
The burglaries commonly occur prior to check washing, a crime that “occurs when an individual treats checks to remove their ink and rewrites them with a new payee and amount,” according to the Winnetka Police Department.
The department has continually warned residents against mailing checks.
Multiple incidents of check washing are reported each week in the northern suburbs. The Winnetka Post Office’s standard dropboxes were burglarized again in May, prompting an alert from the WPD.
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