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Mail thieves heading to prison for four years

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POSTED February 16, 2018 1:50 a.m.

A Manteca couple who paired up to steal from cluster mail boxes throughout the community have agreed to a plea deal that will put them in prison for four years.
Meliton Coronado, 34, and Christina “Tina” Talbert, 40, were interrupted opening a cluster mail box by officers on patrol on Aug. 4 of last year. A pursuit ensued.
Modesto officers joined in the late night chase that included the couple driving through a park.
Aaron Montoya, who was the lead detective in the case said the thieves crashed their car into a gully and ran toward the Tuolumne River near Ceres.  They ended up swimming across the river before they were apprehended.
The two are now awaiting sentencing later this month in San Joaquin County Superior Court.
Coronado pled to accept a sentence of four years and eight months in state prison and Talbert is expected to get a lesser sentence.  During the pursuit Coronado was attempting to evade officers in his vehicle “with wanton disregard for public safety,” officers charged.
He was charged with six felonies and three misdemeanors.  Talbert is charged with four felonies and three misdemeanors, according to the Sheriff’s website online, including forgery of stolen checks, identity theft and possession the IDs of 10 or more persons with the intent to defraud.
Coronado is also charged with forgery, identity theft and vehicle theft of the car he was driving out of Colorado. 
They are both being held in San Joaquin County Jail until formal sentencing.  Coronado’s bail has been set at $255,000 and Talbert’s at $220,000. 
Detective Montoya has been working the mail theft cases in Manteca for the past two years. He said most of the responsible individuals have been caught and put through the court system. He noted significantly fewer mail thefts occurring today.
Even so, law enforcement officials continue to warn residents not to let their guard down as mail and identify theft and significant crimes.
Sherri Adams — the Chief District Attorney that oversees the prosecution of what she terms an “identity theft epidemic”  in San Joaquin County — has strongly urged Manteca residents and those in nearby communities to assume their mail boxes are at high risk of being targeted by thieves.
She has stressed the importance of not putting outgoing mail in your mailbox
Adams said the surge in ID theft that shows no sign of abating makes it imperative that people take steps to reduce their exposure to costly fraud that includes mail theft.
Those steps include:
uTaking outgoing mail and dropping it in a blue postal box or into a drop slot inside a post office.
uRetrieve your incoming mail every day with no exceptions. Adams herself has been a victim of mail theft herself and makes it a point no matter who tired she is or how late she gets home to always retrieve her mail.
uMinimizing your “foot print” by having no more than three credit cards — one for larger purchases, one that has a fairly low spending limit, and one that is an ATM card to access bank accounts.
uRecord all of your credit card information and how to contact firms in a safe place at home so you can immediately call them when you either lose cards or if they are stolen.
uDon’t ever provide information on any of your accounts to someone that calls you even if it is PG&E threatening to cut off your power in three days. Instead hang up, go to your statement and call the number on that and not one that the caller may have given you — and asked the representative that answers whether they are trying to contact you.
uCheck your credit report twice a year to look for unauthorized activity. Adams noted banks typically provide one free credit report a year.
uRemembering that the Internal Revenue Service does not call taxpayers out of the blue — period. Their communication is always by snail mail although have an established conversation going with the IRS they may conduct that by phone.
uNever fall for the “grandma scam” where a young relative is calling up in desperate need of help. Always try to call the parents or even the young relative in question back using numbers that you have and not the ones the caller provides to try and verify if there is an issue.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email

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