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Suspected Mail Thief Caught on Camera

A suspected mail thief was caught on camera in a Northwest Fresno neighborhood. The suspect took at least two weeks' worth of mail, from a locked mailbox, including a debit card, the victim says.
Surveillance video captures a man walking from the homeowner's mailbox up to the camera. The man then rips the camera from the wall.
Surveillance video captures a man walking from the homeowner's mailbox up to the camera. The man then rips the camera from the wall.
A suspected mail thief was caught on camera in a Northwest Fresno neighborhood. The suspect took at least two weeks' worth of mail, from a locked mailbox, including a debit card, says homeowner Vern Simmons.

Simmons says he returned from vacation to find one of his security cameras ripped from the wall. 

So Simmons checked his surveillance.

"At 4:54 a.m., walking through the neighborhood, he stopped at my mailbox, pried it open and then after he got all the mail out, he spotted the camera on the house," Simmons says. 

His surveillance video captures the act on Jan. 14-- a man walks from the mailbox up to the camera and pulls it from the wall.

"The whole neighborhood is bothered by this because the guy's coming in the middle of the night, and it can't just be me he's going after," Simmons says. 

He says the thief intercepted a debit card, somehow activated it, and made more than 150 purchases, spending several thousand dollars.

"If somebody thinks they've been a victim, it's critical to make a report with the postal inspectors, with local police and sheriff's office," says Jeff Fitch, a U.S. Postal Inspector. 

Simmons says his surveillance shows that the thief has been back at least four more times.

Neighbors in the tight knit community say now they are on the lookout.

"Our neighbors have a neighborhood watch, and we do watch out for one another," says Avis Ambrose. 

"I hope he gets caught. And I hope he gets prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," adds Ken Leppke. 

Stealing mail is a federal crime, one that carries heavy penalties-- a fine of up to $250,000 and a punishment of up to five years in federal prison, Fitch says. 

Fitch adds that's there's a reward of up to $10,000 for information that can lead to an arrest and conviction. 

To file a mail theft complaint, or if you have information about mail theft, call the 24-hour U.S. Postal Inspectors hotline at (877) 876-2455. 

If you are a victim of mail theft, also contact your local police or sheriff's department, and check with the three main credit agencies that monitor your credit score for fraud. 
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