Surveillance cameras help catch man who stole thousands of pieces of mail

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A thief who’s been raiding hundreds of mailboxes for months is now in custody. Fresno Police are now sorting through the trove of stolen mail and working to get the case to the federal level.

Police said Justin Deger had stolen close to 2,000 pieces of mail and that he’d been on detectives’ radars since November. Court records show he has a number of theft-related charges, bailing out of jail for each one.

In a back room at police’s northwest policing district building, detectives are currently sorting through all of the mail by zipcode. Among the stolen mail are prescription medications, credit cards, cash and many other kinds of personal information.

Besides raiding mailboxes, police say Deger would even rip out mailboxes entirely.

Capt. Burke Farrah, the northwest district commander, said there are around 500 victims so far.

“We have found, already, victims in this pile of mail that we know personally. These are our friends, our family members, our co-workers in some of these cases,” Farrah said.

Detectives with the northwest policing unit said Deger was caught in the act by people’s surveillance cameras. Also, all of Deger’s arrests have kept him on police’s radar since November.

Detective Dennis Zeuner said his repeated crimes have only strengthened their case.

“We knew he would bond out and kind of roam around while his cases were pending in court,” he said. “This kind of just drove us to really kind of focus on him even more.”

Police haven’t found an exact motive yet, but identity theft crimes are at the top of possibilities.

“We don’t know what Mr. Deger’s done with this information. We don’t know if he’s tried to use it himself for identity theft, or if he’s sold it to other people to use for identity theft,” Farrah said. “We may have cases that come to light in the months to come.”

Farrah said sometime Friday afternoon his team was meeting with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and the postal inspector to work on getting this case to the federal level.

He adds they’ll all try to figure out charges that put him behind bars for awhile.

This arrest comes just a day after Tulare Police arrested two men from Bakersfield for stealing around a thousand pieces of mail in a months-long investigation.

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