Santa Barbara resident Juan Carlos Coronado-Mendoza was arrested Tuesday in connection with numerous package burglaries and other theft-related offenses. The 31-year-old was detained after a month-long investigation conducted by Sheriff’s and Santa Barbara police detectives.
The Sheriff’s Office was first notified of the suspected mail theft in December 2020, said spokesperson Raquel Zick, when a resident reported missing packages from multiple Montecito addresses.
After receiving a second report in January 2021 from the same resident, authorities were able to identify Mendoza through video surveillance obtained by the victim.
Upon searching Mendoza’s home, the suspect was discovered to have numerous pieces of stolen mail and was subsequently taken into custody at the Main Jail, where he is being held on charges of unlawful possession of tear gas, violation of probation, and numerous counts of theft.
Residents who fell prey to Mendoza’s tactics are currently being notified by Sheriff’s deputies, said Zick.
In response to Mendoza’s alleged robberies, Santa Barbara County law enforcement are urging residents to exercise more caution when it comes to protecting their mail.
“The mailbox at your house is often an easily accessible place for thieves to steal checks, credit cards, gift cards, and information that can easily make you the victim of identity theft,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
To avoid this, the department suggests utilizing online billing, tracking notifications, and mailboxes that lock.
Residents should also consider setting up a post office box for sensitive mail, the Sheriff’s Office said.
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