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Mail Theft Could Be More Damaging Than You May Think, Police Say

Published On: Jan 07 2014 06:32:39 PM CST
SALINAS, Calif. -

Salinas police said having your mail stolen could be more damaging than you may think.

This comes after officers busted Juan Solis with hundreds of pieces of mail stolen from different areas of the Central Coast and Central Valley on Sunday morning.

"Just your name and address is just a start for them," said Cmdr. Sheldon Bryan with the Salinas Police Department. "The more information, the more damage they can do by opening accounts and things like that."

Bryan showed Central Coast News copies of the hundreds of pieces of stolen mail recovered over the weekend.

Solis was arrested after being spotted by officers who thought it was odd for a lone car to be parked at Fremont Elementary School.

"(We) discovered a lot of stolen mail, credit cards, checks," Bryan said.

And, police said, a computer and printer to make his own checks. Bryan said the victims are from the Monterey Peninsula, Prunedale, Lemoore and Hanford. He said generally the thieves take mail from unlocked mailboxes and garbage cans.

"Anybody can be a target," Bryan said. "Ripping them up in tiny pieces they can still get the information that they need and just with the name or a partial account number they can access information from various resources."

When getting rid of even your most basic mail, police said the best thing to do is shred it so there's no trace of it.

"They can certainly open accounts, get lines of credit. We've had people go and purchase cars at dealerships based on information that they've received from stolen means, like mail," Bryan said.

Police are working to identify and contact the victims, which they said takes a lot of resources and time.