ARMED with perhaps just a simple tool similar to a pair of tongs, crooks made away with thousands of dollars by targeting letters containing credit cards in letter boxes.
But their illegal spending spree did not go on for long.
The police have busted members of a syndicate who had been stealing credit cards from the mail system.
Five men, all local, were arrested last year and four have since been dealt with in court.
The police are still investigating the role played by a fifth man.
The arrests were announced in the annual statistics released by police on Wednesday.
In all, the men are believed to have been involved in more than 100 cases of credit card fraud.
The statistics also showed that payment card fraud fell by 37 per cent to 241 cases last year.
Bank officials told The New Paper yesterday that despite the five arrests, others are still operating as members of a large syndicate targeting the mail system to intercept credit cards sent by banks to their customers.
An executive with a local bank said: "Most of these credit card thieves would make one transaction on a big ticket item, like iPhones, iMacs and even gold because they can be easily disposed of for cash."
The executive, who cannot be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter, provided details of how these thieves operated.
He said they usually hit HDB blocks and zoom in on letter boxes without an anti-junk mail flap, which prevents others from pushing fliers into letter boxes.
The thieves would use a modified tool, which looks like a pair of tongs, to reach in and retrieve the letters, taking those that look and feel like they have credit cards within.