Countless Delaware residents have made reports of stolen checks, plagiarized checks, mail theft, and cashed checks for wrong amounts. There have been reports of checks that were made out to utility companies, completely erased and re-written to pay a personal account for a larger amount than what was originally written. Some checks would be triple or even ten times the amount of which they were originally written. Countless posts on the Nextdoor social media app have been very similar in style, describing how their checks were faulty and tampered with.
And it’s not just happening in Delaware.
Across the country, what has become known as mailbox fishing and check washing has become a nationwide problem. Thieves are stealing checks being sent in the mail and using a certain chemical to wash away the ink on the check so that they can replace the name and amount the check is issued for, whilst keeping the original signature.
Some checks have been caught in the act due to suspicious activity in their bank accounts, but some are so subtle that they have gone under the radar until they get a report saying they’ve missed their utility payment. Banks and financial institutions have recommended keeping a close eye on their bank accounts, ensuring their bank activity is solely their own. They have also recommended not mailing any checks, and paying bills online, or in person handing the check directly over to the company or person you’re paying. Keeping a checkbook of dates and payments can also show which checks have gone haywire.
Other ways to prevent this U.S. Postal Service check scam is to use gel pens with inedible ink. This certain ink “cannot be washed” according to Axios. Banks have actually begun hiring more in check processing teams, and have started to point the fingers at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to hold their mail carriers accountable and to do more serious investigations when these problems arise.
The USPS “has been putting warning signs on blue mailboxes, telling people to use online bill pay or bring their letters to a post office.”
Stealing mail is a felony and can result in a sentence of five years in federal prison, along with a large fine. Check washing is also a felony and can result in jail time.
Inside the Abandoned Cine'Mart Theater in Wilmington Delaware
In the late 60s and early 70s, movie theaters, drive-ins, and strip mall cinemas were popping up all over the nation. They were the new craze. Branmar Cinema had just opened their doors, along with Tri State Mall’s old theater and then came the Cine’Mart Theater on Governor Printz Boulevard in Wilmington, Delaware. The first date of the box office opening at the Cine’Mart was January 20th, 1969.
According to the credited research that Edwin Graf Diemer contributed to Cinema Treasures for this story, “The shopping center [across the street from Cine’Mart] was built just following World War II and quickly became the most popular shopping destination in Wilmington.” The theater seated 984 people and there was only 1 screen, similar to Branmar Theater just a couple miles away. A newspaper released at the time of the closure stated, “The CineMart, Northern Delaware’s largest motion picture theater was closed over the weekend. Employees of the 984-seat theater on the Governor Printz Boulevard said they were notified of the closing just hours before it was shut down.”
The theater was steadily losing “$50,000 to $60,000 a year” and fell behind on rent. The owners did ask the owners of the Merechandise Mart to twin the theater, but they declined. At the same time of the CineMart closure, the Edgemoor Theater, which was only a few hundred yards up the road, would close when their lease expired.
Edwin cited that “The auditorium was completely in gold with wide rocking chair seating. The front was deeply curved to allow for the screen, with curtains that went to the rear of the auditorium.” According to local WJBR listener, Gary Rauso who has been to the Cinemart as well as Branmar Cinema, stated “It was the first theater in the area to have surround sound.” This theater, along with many others across America, actually were booking shows ranging from G-rated to explicit pornographic films. The theater was originally built to operate solely on X-rated pornographic films, but the Budco company acquired the theater from Hallmark Theaters of Massachusetts and started showing all varieties of films. The first film ever shown at the Cinemart was in 1968, “The Odd Couple”. The last ever film shown there was “The Exterminator”.
The downfall of the Cine’Mart was actually the Concord Mall on Route 202 in Wilmington. The Mall had been built with a theater of its own and sucked the life out of the Cine’Mart. This also resulted in the abandonment of the entire Merchandise Mart. Today, the Cine’Mart is fully abandoned, but remains standing with boards up on every possible entrance.
For a more-in depth read of the history of the Cine’Mart, I highly recommend reading Edwin’s full contribution on Cinema Treasures.
Branmar Plaza Shopping Center in Wilmington Used to Have a Movie Theater
Branmar Plaza, owned by Capano Management, in Wilmington, Delaware is home to many great establishments. From El Diablo, to Branmar Wine and Spirits, Acme, and now a brand new Kid Shelleen’s. Located on Marsh Road and Silverside, the shopping plaza frequents many shoppers all hours through the day. The exterior of the storefronts are currently being renovated to match the aesthetic of the new Kid Shelleen’s, Branmar Wine and Spirits, and the Walgreens on the opposite corner.
In the early 2000’s two video rental stores were in business, but ended their lease when Netflix and streaming services came about. But what came before those video rental stores was something only some Wilmington residents remember. The Branmar Cinema.
The Branmar Cinema was located at 1812 Marsh Road, right in Branmar Plaza. It was in the back corner, right around where the current Karate storefront is. It was a strip mall movie theater, which were very popular in the late 60s and early 70s across America. The Branmar Cinema opened on August 12, 1970 and hosted only one screen. According to Jordan Lage of Cinema Treasures, “From the entrance, it had a modest-sized lobby with concession stand attached to the main auditorium, resulting in an L-shaped layout. During its life it was operated by Budco and AMC Theatres.” 10 years after opening, the theater was twinned on March 14, 1980, yet closed some time in the 90s. Apparently, for some time, the theater posters that once were plastered to the windows could still be faintly seen in the correct light. The windows have probably been replaced.
The Most Filmed Locations in DE MD NJ and PA Revealed
The most filmed locations in DE MD NJ and PA revealed recently by the website hawaiianislands.com
The website took a close look at IMDB date to find the locations in each state of the nation with the most film credits. The survey did not include movie studios, but rather real live locations.
Movies have been filmed in all 50 states in 100 years of film making. As you would guess, California and New York lead the way in cinematic shooting locations.
In California, Griffith Park in Los Angeles is the overall most filmed location in the United States. In New York, it’s Central Park in Manhattan.
The most filmed U.S. National Parks include The Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yosemite National Park in California and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
The most filmed American buildings include LA’s Union Station at number 1, The White House at number 2 and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge at number 3.
But what about filming locations closer to our home?
And now…The most filmed locations in DE MD NJ and PA revealed!
Hollywood Kyle is the Digital Content Producer and Production Director of Mix 99.5 WJBR. Being a Delaware local, Kyle takes pride in his hometown and has had a love for music since a young age. Hollywood Kyle joins the Mix Morning Show for abstract thoughts and ideas during "Hollywood Kyle" segment around 9:40am Monday thru Friday.