Crime - Sacto 911

Federal-local initiative cracks down on mail theft in Central Valley

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced Wednesday in Sacramento the results thus far of a crack down on mail theft in the Central Valley.

Since the April kickoff of a concerted effort to stem the swelling tide of mail theft in the region, including the importation from other locations of additional manpower by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, 21 people have been hit with federal indictments and six others have been charged locally in Sacramento and Kern Counties as part of “Operation Broken Mailbox,” Wagner said at a news conference.

One reason for the heavy volume of mail theft in the federal Eastern District of California, Wagner said, is that the area remains awash in the manufacture and use of methamphetamine.

“Where there’s meth, there’s mail,” Gregory Campbell Jr., deputy chief postal inspector for western field operations, said at the news conference. Addicts regularly look to the contents of mail – checks, credit cards, prescription drugs, or enough information to cash in on a stolen identity – to accommodate their habits, Campbell said.

Wagner said the joint federal-local initiative has identified more than 2,100 victims of mail theft and nearly $400,000 in losses, and the operation is ongoing.