Manteca mail thieves are becoming more brazen making it dicey to drop off mail anywhere except for inside the downtown post office on Maple Avenue and the postal annex on Industrial Park Drive.
Thieves removed the large, blue mail box that had been located next to the Manteca Bulletin office in the 500 block of East Yosemite Avenue
It was taken earlier this month, leaving the nuts that were connected to the anchoring bolts from a concrete base pad.
It is not the first time that street side postal drop-off boxes have been stolen. A number of years ago several were taken — including one outside the Laurel Glenn Apartments on Button Avenue — that were found abandoned in rural south Manteca after they had been broken into.
Earlier this week, residents in rural south Manteca found unwanted items in their mailboxes — homemade bombs.
There were discovered on Monday. One was in the 6000 block of Perrin Road near Union Road and the other on Mello Avenue. One had exploded and the other was removed by the Department of Justice Bomb Squad.
Patrol units from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office were the first to respond followed by the California Department of Justice investigators from Sacramento. Deputy Dave Konecny, spokesman for the Sheriff’s department, said he could not comment on the case since it was taken over by the state agency.
One resident said the bombs were discovered by homeowners after they had returned home from a funeral for Ray Quaresma at about 5 p.m. Another also living on Mello Avenue said her mail had been taken from her mailbox in recent weeks and found strewn along the roadway.
Manteca Police late last year made arrests that solved major identity theft investigations with more than 1,000 victims that were the result of mail being stolen.
Ripon Police in October broke up a suspected mail theft ring with three arrests thanks to a call from a grocery store about a suspicious check presented by a customer that subsequently led to 1,100 pieces of stolen mail from Manteca and Elk Grove.
Manteca Police in December arrested two suspects involved in some 120 mail thefts in nine cities after a chase reaching speeds up to 105 miles per hour ended in Modesto. The thefts occurred from 120 cluster mail boxes occurred in Delhi, Patterson, Manteca, Modesto, Turlock, Newman, Hilmar, and Ceres.
What to do to
exposure to mail theft
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:
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. 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.
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.
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.
Check your credit report twice a year to look for unauthorized activity. Adams noted banks typically provide one free credit report a year.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.