More mail theft covered in yet another #MailTheftMonday! This week we’ve got a CSI tech investigation, coasting crooks, and double crossing cons!

Butte County Sheriffs Office arrest three subjects in relation to agricultural theft

by Itzel CruzAction News Now – 03/21/2020 – Butte County, California

Deputies with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office arrested three subjects early Friday morning with a connection to agricultural theft as well as mail theft. 

Officials say on March 20 at approximately 3 a.m., deputies with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to a burglary in progress at a building on Hamilton Nord Cana Highway in Butte County west of Chico. 

Smart Water CSI Technology

Officials say deputies had been investigating numerous thefts in the northern Butte County area directly related to agricultural theft. This particular property had been the victim of recent thefts of building materials during the remodel of an ag-shop building.  Deputies say they had placed a piece of equipment inside the shop equipped with a tracking device. The equipment was also coated in Smart Water CSI. 

Officials say Smart Water CSI is a forensic marking solution used to identify items of property when they have been stolen to help identify the owner and get the property returned. When an object is coated with this transferable grease, it will transfer the coating to any skin/clothing that has touched the item and will remain there for a number of days. Each batch of Smart Water is a unique mixture registered to individual users and is invisible to the naked eye. 

Officials say after being alerted to the theft of equipment, Butte County Sheriff Deputies tracked the equipment to a parking lot on Esplanade at East Ave in Chico. 

Deputies contacted three subjects standing outside of a vehicle in the parking lot. Deputies carry a special high UV spectrum flashlight that I used to locate the smart Water CSI. When deputies used the special flashlight, they were able to see traces of the Smart Water on all three subjects’ hands and clothing. 

The three subjects were identified as Ryan Marx, 43, Christopher Seghetti, 32, and Joanna Zepeda 30… Officials say one of the burglary tools located happened to be a makeshift post office key used to open a community mailbox. A large amount of mail was located in the vehicle as well that appeared to be recently stolen from a business district in the north end of the City of Chico. Deputies say they will investigate the mail theft and will be returning that stolen mail to the owners. 

All the subjects were arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft, possession of burglary tools and receiving stolen property. 

If anyone has any information regarding agricultural-related thefts in Butte County, please contact Sgt. Josh Brazzi at (530) 990-6852 or by email at jbrazzi@buttecounty.net 

KHSL – Itzel Cruz – 03/21/2020

COMMENTS: Wow! I am thoroughly impressed at the use of new security and crime technologies in this case. This ‘Smart Water CSI’ stuff seems like a very innovative and applicable technology that will hopefully help lead to more solved property thefts in the future!

It is not unusual to see mail thefts linked to other types of crimes. In this case, the thieves were also found to be in possession of a universal key for cluster mailboxes – and a whole bunch of mail! The ‘universal’ and grouped aspect of group cluster boxes has always seemed a bit scary to me. Just one lock to pop or open, and the thief could have access to the whole lot of units and whatever mail might be inside them!

Our locks have over 1500 variations of keys available – definitely something that adds an extra layer of security and additional peace of mind against theft.

Four arrested as East Bay mail theft, burglary suspects

by George KellyBay Area News Group – 03/18/2020 – Hercules, California

Four Contra Costa residents were arrested on suspicion of multiple charges after a traffic stop yielded apparently stolen mail and packages, authorities said.

At 12:42 a.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Stanley Court for a report of a mail theft in progress, Hercules police said in a statement.

After arriving, officers learned a caller saw a male wearing a hooded sweatshirt going through mailboxes. The male ducked out of sight after the caller opened their door, and an older-model maroon or brown Toyota Camry left the area soon after.

An officer soon saw a 1995 maroon Toyota Camry driving eastbound on Refugio Valley Road near Hannah Ranch Park, and stopped it in the 100 block of Mandalay Avenue. That officer was able to see several pieces of mail on the car’s rear passenger floorboard.

Three of four people in the car, identified only as a 19-year-old Pittsburg man, a 20-year-old Bay Point man and a 20- and 25-year-old women from Pittsburg, were found to be on probation. A vehicle search found stolen mail from Antioch, Brentwood, Concord, Hercules and Oakley, as well as four opened and possibly stolen packages from Brentwood, Concord and Pittsburg, and several personal checks, credit cards and burglary tools.

All four were arrested on suspicion of mail theft, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools and stolen property, and taken to Hercules police headquarters for booking before later being released. Officers also towed the Toyota, police said.

Anyone with information may call Hercules police at 510-724-1111.

George Kelly, Bay Area News Group – 03/18/2020

COMMENTS: These Contra Costa California Coasters were Caught by Cops in their Camry, Cold-blooded. In another classic case of mail and package grab, these four criminals should hopefully learn from their lesson, though based off of the probation that might be a hopeful outcome.

However residents CAN impact their own outcomes; by purchasing and installing a Mail Boss locking curbside mailbox, individuals can protect their mail and identities from crooks like these. Don’t be a victim!

Two charged with mail fraud

Waupaca County News – 03/17/2020 – Clintonville, Wisconsin

Two women face charges for allegedly stealing mail from mailboxes in Clintonville. Nicole L. Russell, 30, New London, and Jacqline D. Swenson, 29, Clintonville, have each been charged with one count of forgery and three counts of mail fraud.

Waupaca County News – 03/17/2020

Russell has also been charged with identity theft, credit card fraud and felony theft. On Nov. 5, 2019, Waupaca County deputies and New London police executed a search warrant at Russell’s home. Staff Sgt. Nick Kamba, with New London police, searched Swenson’s car and found numerous packages and envelopes with Clintonville addresses.

About one week earlier, a package had been reported stolen from an address in the same area. According to the criminal complaint, Russell showed investigators Facebook messages from Wenson, indicating she was on a ‘route’.

Swenson allegedly sent a photo of mail in her car. Russell blamed Swenson for taking the mail; while Swenson blamed Russell…

Waupaca County Detective… identified 57 victims based on the mail he found in Russell’s home and Swenson’s vehicle.

Waupaca County News – 03/17/2020

COMMENTS: It seems like these two partners in crime turned on each other after being found out by local authorities. However they definitely caused a lot of damage and had quite the hay-day together while it lasted… 57 mail theft victims!

That is 57 mail thefts that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place… lock your mailboxes people! Not only did these thieves snag mail, they managed to get valuable credit cards and valuable identity information too. Those crimes can cause long-lasting damages to their victims.


That’s a wrap for this weeks Mail Theft Monday. Amid countless mail articles covering Coronavirus, we hope that this #mailtheftmonday was a breath of fresh air. Thanks for reading!

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