A crew of four men from Paterson are accused of breaking into U.S. Postal Service mail collection boxes throughout North Jersey and stealing mail, including nearly half a million dollars in checks, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

Aneuris Henriquez-Lopez, 24; Eleazer Peralta, 19; Fernando Santiago, 26; and Rikinson Rodriguez-Sanchez, 25, are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Henriquez-Lopez, Peralta and Santiago were arrested Wednesday and were slated to make their initial appearances in Newark federal court. Rodriguez-Sanchez remained at large.

Targeted USPS mail collection boxes were in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, and Middlesex counties, with some of the boxes broken into using pry bars overnight, Carpenito said.

The suspects then deposited the stolen checks into various bank accounts, often within a day of them being snatched from mail boxes, prosecutors said.

The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

This is a separate but similar scheme to one last fall, in which six men from Paterson were accused of stealing $300,000 in checks from USPS blue collection boxes in the same five counties, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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