Break-ins at three community mailbox locations in Escalon have been under investigation for the past couple of months and have led police to a Hughson man.
The man, whose name was not released because he was not placed under arrest, is suspected of being involved in the theft of mail not only from Escalon but from several Stanislaus County communities as well.
“The mail thefts occurred the night of March 3 into March 4, from three community mailboxes on Thaddeous, Yosemite and Mission,” said Escalon Police Department Detective Anthony Hardgraves. “There was blood on all three mailboxes and samples were collected, which we sent off for DNA testing.”
The testing revealed a ‘hit’ on a suspect in Hughson and Hardgraves did a probation search at the suspect’s home on Monday, May 15.
“We located hundreds of pieces of mail believed to have been stolen from Escalon, Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Riverbank, Oakdale, Waterford, Salida, Gustine and Hughson,” Hardgraves said.
A DNA sample was also taken from the suspect but Hardgraves said they have to wait until the samples from the mailboxes and the sample from the suspect have had a direct comparison before they will know if they can make an arrest.
In the meantime, he said, all of the mail was collected from the Hughson location.
Information is also going to the Stanislaus County District Attorney about the mail thefts, since most of the mail was taken from communities in that county.
Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges outlined the case at the Monday night Escalon City Council meeting, with council members and residents attending the session offering kudos for the work done by Detective Hardgraves on the case.
Also, the chief reported on an arrest made in another recent case.
On Saturday, May 6, police said a business in the 1900 block of McHenry Avenue was burglarized and a vehicle was stolen from that location. Officer Carl Poortinga was able to identify the suspect, Jose Meza Uribe, 26, from surveillance video of the crime.
Officers from the department served a search warrant at Uribe’s residence in the 2100 block of Franklin on May 13 and located evidence from the McHenry Avenue burglary inside the home, along with identity theft materials, drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine.
Uribe was subsequently booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of felony vehicle theft and a variety of drug charges in addition to burglary, identity theft and forgery/counterfeiting.
He remained in custody at press time.