An alert citizen put in motion a series of events that led Ripon Police to arrest a couple on suspicion of mail and credit card theft
Arrested were Margaret Casem, 35, and Billy Marshall, 32, with the stolen items coming from Salida to Galt as well as Livingston.
Police said the couple had been spotted prying open a residential community mailbox with a crowbar shortly before 4 a.m. on Friday on Johanna Drive.
In fleeing the area they lost control in a Ripon roundabout and crashed into a San Joaquin Irrigation District junction box. The pair fled on foot and was later found in the Denny’s Restaurant on Jack Tone Road near Highway 99. Officers said the two suspects had just sat down at a table when police walked through the door.
The crash of their 2006 BMW 325i occurred at Fulton Avenue and Colony Road about a mile and a half away from the mail box. Officers said with all the airbags in the vehicle deployed.
Officers determined there were 32 separate individual victims of mail and credit card theft based on what was found inside their vehicle leading Ripon Police to charge the pair with ID theft.
The male was determined to be the driver of the car registered in his name. They were both taken into custody and transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.
Prosecutors with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office indicate mail and ID theft shows no sign of abating making it imperative that people take steps to reduce their exposure to costly fraud that includes mail theft.
Those steps include:
Taking outgoing mail and dropping it in a blue postal box or into a drop slot inside a post office.
Retrieve your incoming mail every day with no exceptions. Prosecutors have been victims of mail theft and make it a point no matter how tired they are or how late they get home to always retrieve their mail.
Minimizing 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.
Record 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.
Don’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.
Check your credit report twice a year to look for unauthorized activity. Banks typically provide one free credit report a year.
Remember that the Internal Revenue Service does not call taxpayers out of the blue — period. Their communication is always by snail mail although those that have an established conversation going with the IRS they may conduct that by phone.
Never 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.