U.S. Postal inspectors and Elk Grove Police say they have arrested three suspects involved in a rash of mailbox break-ins that have occurred for the past several months.
As many as 60 boxes, many part of cluster mailboxes, were emptied.
In federal custody on dozens of mail theft, fraud and identity theft charges are 22-year-old Leonard Velasco, 20-year-old Joseph Ryan and 20-year-old Keri Southwood, all of Elk Grove.
Investigators say the arrests were made after a search warrant was issued for Sothwood’s Elk Grove residents. Court documents say 1,000 pieces of mail from 250 individuals were found.
A break in the case happened when Southwood was stopped for shoplifting at the Kohl’s department store in Elk Grove. Fifteen stolen bank and credit cards were found as well stolen tax documents.
Earlier investigators discovered store surveillance of individuals fitting the description of the suspects posing as the victims their stolen cards at area Target and Walmart stores. Close to $10,000 of merchandise was purchased.
Police and inspectors credited citizens with coming forward with information on fraudulent bank transactions.
A fourth man who was seen with two of the suspects on cameras dumping stolen mail into a dumpster was arrested earlier on state theft charges and pleaded guilty. He is not part of the federal mail theft case. Other arrests may be made as the investigation continues.
The most serious charges could put suspects in federal prison for five years with a $250,000 fine.