For weeks, thieves had been a nuisance in a south Indio community, breaking into mailboxes and using a stolen truck as their getaway vehicle.
“For the past 2 weeks, they were just going on a rampage, stealing everything,” said a victim who requested to remain anonymous.
After multiple attempts to catch the suspects with no luck – residents determined they had had enough. One swipe of a stolen credit card revealed the suspects’ location. That’s when victims decided to take matters into their own hands. They pursued the suspects, leading to a high-speed car chase involving multiple law enforcement officers. Following a crash at a home in Thermal, officers arrested 27-year-old Jose Francisco Ramirez and another female suspect.
“There were so many stolen items. There were trash bags full of mail. Trash bags, multiple,” said the victim.
Police say mail thefts are picking up again following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Now people are getting back into their routine, and now we’re seeing, obviously, most recently the mail theft wave come through again,” said Benjamin Guitron, Public Information Officer for the Indio Police Department.
They say the thefts spike during the holiday and tax seasons, but anyone can be a victim, at any time.
If you suspect a mail theft in your area, police say the first thing to do…
“Number 1 is report it. Number 2, make sure to cancel anything that’s of personal information that you feel has been compromised- your bank accounts, your credit cards, and opened recurring debts that you pay,” said Guitron.
There are two ways to report a crime of mail theft…
“They can report it online, if they have no suspects, leads or clues, they just noticed it was damaged,” said Guitron. “Value has a lot to do with it. If they were expecting anything of value. It’s not going to be an online report, it’s going to have to be done in person.”
They say under no circumstances should you try to confront the suspect.
“Please do not attempt to locate the people that did the crime… cause you don’t know how that’s going to be received and we want to make sure that the public is safe,” said Guitron.
“And at the end of the day, it’s property. It’s not worth your safety to confront those people.”