- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Brooklyn man is facing federal charges for allegedly stealing credit cards, mail and coronavirus stimulus checks totaling more than $12,000 from neighborhood mailboxes, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Feng Chen, 31, is charged with theft of mail and faces up to five years in prison.

New York Police officers spotted Mr. Chen rifling through the medical collection bin at a closed medical office on Tuesday in the Sunset Park neighborhood, prosecutors said.

Mr. Chen then walked to a nearby residential building and rummaged through the mail left at the door and then went to another residential property, according to court documents.

He left the second building carrying what appeared to mail, prosecutors said.

When Mr. Chen spotted the police, he threw the mail on the ground, according to the criminal complaint.

Mr. Chen told officers he was delivering food to someone in the building and then changed his story to say he was visiting someone. He changed his story a third time to say he lived in the building, according to the criminal complaint.

Prosecutors said when they searched Mr. Chen, they discovered nine stimulus checks addressed to other people and totaling more than $12,000. He also possessed stolen credit cards and letters.

“For many families, these stimulus checks are a lifeline in these difficult times and anyone who tries to cut that lifeline will face the full weight of the law,” United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement.

The stimulus checks are part of the government’s $2.2 billion coronavirus relief package to help soothe economic hardship the virus has caused taxpayers.

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