Central California mailbox thefts prompt crackdown

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Updated: 1/15 6:07 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A surge in thefts from mailboxes across the Central Valley last year victimized more than 2,100 people and sparked a federal crackdown that has led to charges against at least 27 people.

U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner said Wednesday that postal investigators and local law enforcement targeted rings that were responsible for bulk mail thefts, particularly in the Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield areas.

The thieves pried open boxes inside post office lobbies and the multiple-slot postal lock boxes erected in many neighborhoods. They also broke into postal delivery trucks, in part so they could counterfeit postal-box keys.

Prosecutors said the perpetrators were after checks, credit cards, personal identifying information and prescription drugs delivered by mail.

More than a dozen investigators were brought in from around the country to track the thieves.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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