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Postboxes a Target for Thieves

This woman is suspected of depositing a check in Redondo Beach that was stolen from a Santa Barbara postbox. | Credit: courtesy SBPD

[Update: June 27, 2019] The SBPD has released a second photo in the case, this one showing a woman whom law enforcement suspect of depositing a check in Redondo Beach that had been stolen from Santa Barbara main post office boxes.

[Original Story] The big mailboxes on the sidewalk in front of the main post office downtown have become the target of thieves, and Santa Barbara police ask for the public’s help in identifying a possible perpetrator. Detective April Beltran has been tracking the thefts, which may also be occurring at the postboxes outside the San Roque post office. She said thieves hit the containers when they’re full or use something sticky to probe inside the box, often overnight. In late April, a check that was stolen in Santa Barbara was deposited at an ATM in Oxnard; there, the depositor, and suspected thief, was caught on video.

Photo: SBCSOSanta Barbara police ask the public for information on this individual caught on video in Oxnard, who is suspected of mail theft.

Beltran said the thefts have ramped up in the past couple months and that there had been a similar rash of thefts a few years ago. The previous thefts included a six-figure check mailed from the Anacapa Street main post office. If a check writer notices their bank statement has an incorrect amount for the check — indicating the check was falsified — or if a check doesn’t reach the recipient, notify the bank immediately, Beltran advised. She added that home mailboxes are consistently targeted when their red flag is up, indicating mail inside to be picked up.

“If you can’t avoid writing a check, make sure to look at the check information when it clears the bank,” Beltran said. Some accounts let you pull up an image of the check: “Confirm that the payee information and amount are consistent with what you wrote.”

Anyone with information regarding the people photographed is asked to call Detective Beltran at (805) 897-2327, email her at abeltran@sbpd.com, or call SBPD anonymously to (805) 897-2386.

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