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Trash, Mail Litter Area Along San Joaquin River

STOCKTON -- While the San Joaquin River is more than inviting on a sweltering July evening, what's crowding the shore near one part of it is not so inviting.

"This is where I grew up and to see people come out and trash it...you know it hurts. It's sad," said Nick Villagomez.

During the 40 years he's lived on the Muzio Ranch in Stockton, Villagomez has watched a sprawling dump grow up along with the brush at Buckley Cove.

Tissue, clothing, discarded playthings and pizza boxes litter the ground.

While FOX40 cameras were there, there was a constant stream of cars pulling into what might ordinarily have been a semi-secluded area. Those cars quickly turned around when they saw that crews were there.

Villagomez feels that behavior may be tied to a disturbing trend he's noticed -- mail, like his dad's, disappearing from nearby boxes.

"We've put a locking mailbox out there and somebody's literally taken a baseball bat to it and knocked the lock loose," he said.

Looking through the trash, FOX40 found a prescription label with the name and address of a man from Pleasanton on it. By phone he said he docks a boat at the cove, but aside from the label just falling out of his truck, he doesn't understand how it ended up in the trash heap.

Some envelopes found were from an address 4 miles away.

One of the items strewn about out along with the roof shingles and fast food cups was the wrapping of a package that came from Kohl's. It appears to have been shipped overnight Thursday night.

FOX40 went to the address on that opened Kohl's package and learned that some of what's been left out by the cove may be tied to a stolen address used for a fake credit account, and not stolen mail.

"What's been happening is we've been getting these packages, we believe it's fraud," said one homeowner who didn't want to reveal his name, describing a situation he says has gone on for six months.

He said a thief is used their own name but his address to order merchandise.

"They're getting it delivered to our address and picking it up, tracking the packages before we even open our door," he said.

The details are in the dumping and it's all been reported to Stockton police.