February 2018
Mt. San Antonio from Rancho Cucamonga: photo by Amanda Walker
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Avoiding Mail Theft

Just a cautionary few steps can make a big difference.

The Rancho Cucamonga Police Department (RCPD) wants to help you keep your mail, and your identity, safe. Deputies routinely respond to some all too familiar calls: mailboxes opened and emptied throughout entire neighborhoods; opened mail discarded in public trash cans and scattered in city streets; and personal banking accounts drained and fraudulent credit cards opened in victims' names.

"Mail theft is an issue for every Southern California community, and it can be challenging to investigate," said RCPD Patrol Operations Lieutenant Joe Bustamante. Thieves looking to steal personal information, checks, and cash are in and out within minutes, leaving entire neighborhoods scratching their heads and demanding answers. "RCPD proactive patrol efforts have alleviated some of the problems, but to completely stop these thefts, residents and the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department must work together," said Bustamante.

One watchful neighbor who noticed a suspicious vehicle casing his neighborhood initiated the recent arrest of a mail theft suspect. Deputies responded to the neighbor's call immediately, captured the suspect in the act, and recovered hundreds of letters containing the personal information of multiple victims. "That resident's actions to 'See Something, Say Something' saved countless victims' bank accounts from being drained," Bustamante said. Deputies also utilize the U.S. Postal Inspectors during their investigations and subsequent prosecutions. Evidence recovered is forwarded to local Postal Inspectors for use in filing federal charges for these offenses.

So, how can residents be proactive in protecting their mail? Detectives assigned to mail theft investigations have some simple but effective ways to prevent these thefts: