Post office contacting victims over bags of filched Auburn mail found in stolen vehicle

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is sending out letters to potential victims after hundreds of pieces of mail with Auburn addresses were discovered in a stolen car after an arrest. The mail was discovered in three large bags after a California Highway Patrol pursuit in the Auburn area and the arrest of the driver Nov. 17. Postal inspector Misty Racimo said Tuesday that the mail recovered from the car has been turned over by the Highway Patrol to the investigation branch of the U.S. Postal Service in Sacramento. Letters are being sent out with inquiries about whether the driver was authorized to have the mail and whether the recipients have other information that could assist with the investigation, she said. The driver of the car the bags of mail were found in remained in Placer County Jail on a no-bail hold Tuesday. Keith Frank Peterson, 49, of Stockton, was arrested on a string of charges the morning of Nov. 17, including taking a vehicle without the owner’s permission and evading a peace officer. Peterson faces a court appearance Dec. 13 on Placer County charges and is also being held on an out-of-county warrant. Stockton Police Department Detective Glenn Hanker confirmed Tuesday that Peterson is wanted on felony parole violations centered on evading-an-officer and drug charges. Mail theft is a federally prosecuted crime that can result in significant prison time for perpetrators. In a recent case prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, 45-year-old Jennifer Lynn Murphy-Oliver, 45, of Sacramento was sentenced in October to five years and three months in prison for possession of stolen mail and unauthorized credit and debit cards. According to court documents, Murphy-Oliver was found with more than 200 pieces of stolen mail and more than 15 credit and debit cards. The loss total attributable to the stolen mail was more than $70,000. ------------------------------------ 3 tips to guard your mail The U.S. Postal Inspection Service advises mail customers to guard against mail theft from post boxes by: - Putting a hold on mail while you’re on vacation. It can be done online or by visiting your local post office - Checking your mail every day and not letting it sit out for long - Checking your mailbox as soon after delivery time as possible if you have financial statements or other documents that could be used by identity thieves Source: U.S. Postal Service