A Merced man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of mail theft, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.
Frankie Lucio, 46, told the deputy he was a letter carrier making routine mail deliveries in south Atwater — around 3 a.m., deputies said.
Deputy Simon Sarkis found Lucio in possession of mail belonging to at least eight people, the Sheriff’s Department said. “The deputy also located stacks of mail belonging to many others inside this individual’s vehicle,” Deputy Delray Shelton said.
Sarkis responded around 3 a.m. Thursday to the area of Queen Elizabeth Drive and Buhach Road to investigate a man reportedly rifling through mailboxes, Shelton said.
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“When contacted, he told the deputy he was a mailman and denied stealing the mail,” Shelton said.
Area law enforcement officials reportedly have noted more mail-theft crimes over the past few years. Such crimes are frequently linked to identity theft cases, they say.
Lucio was booked at the Merced County jail on suspicion of receiving stolen property, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of petty theft. He posted a bail bond and was released a short time later, according to booking records.
“Deputies are reaching out to those whose mail was stolen and working to return the items to their owners,” Shelton said.