Police seek pair in apartment complex drop box thefts

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Authorities across central Florida are trying to track down a pair they want to question about drop box thieves.

Police believe a man and woman are going around to apartment complexes and stealing residents' rent money.

Some victims not only lost their rent checks, but also got hit with late fees.

That's how police caught on to the crime in the first place. When the rent checks weren't coming in, managers thought they had a lot of late fees to hand out.

Anna Auroletta is one of dozens of residents whose rent money is now in the hands of thieves.

"She put the money order in the box and [apartment managers] told her there was no money order in there," said resident Carlos Ortiz.

Tens of thousands of dollars in checks and money orders have been stolen from apartment complexes across central Florida, according to investigators.

Authorities in Orange, Osceola and Polk counties are following a missing money trail hoping it will lead to whoever is stealing from the dropboxes.

Since early February, the Kissimmee Police Department has gotten complaints from six apartment complexes about drop box burglaries.

Police said the thieves used a wire clothes-hanger with a sticky substance on its end to fish checks from the drop boxes.

While management posted notices alerting residents to the theft many are making changes to security. One complex manager said they have done away with the drop box.

"They're doing something about it, that's the important part," said resident Camila Correvor.

Kissimmee police said they are urging property managers to stop using drop boxes.

Police ask that anyone with any information about Maidalys Conde and Obete Perea, who are from south Florida, call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).