SOUTH PASADENA >> Police in South Pasadena arrested a man and woman from Bakersfield on suspicion of stealing packages, mail, credit cards and other items on Wednesday.
Corey Ryan Bihm, 26, and Lauren Helstrom, 29, were booked on suspicion of residential burglary, grand theft, conspiracy and identity theft, according to South Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police were first summoned to a Vons market at 1129 Fair Oaks Avenue about 5:30 p.m. for a report of shoplifting, South Pasadena police Cpl. Craig Phillips said in a written statement.
“During the shoplifting investigation, officers found dozens of Amazon packages not addressed to either subject inside the vehicle,” Phillips said. Police soon confirmed the packages, valued at $2,700, has been stolen from the front porch of a home in Arcadia.
The suspects’ rental moving van was littered with “bags full of mail,” as well as dozens of stolen credit cards and many items with price tags still attached, according to Phillips. Police determined some of the mail had been stolen in South Pasadena and Arcadia.
Officers also recovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia from the suspects, he said. The moving van used by the suspects was later determined to have been stolen.
According to booking records, Bihm was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance. Booking information for Helstrom was not available Thursday afternoon.
PHOTOS courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department
SAN MARINO >> San Marino police jailed a San Gabriel man this on suspicion of identity theft, mail theft and other crimes after catching him with a car filled with hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, checks, identification cards, credit cards, and other identity-theft related materials, police said.
Joseph Kamel, 40, was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail Saturday following his arrest on Thursday evening, according to San Marino police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Investigators had been seeking Kamel after he and his car were seen in connection with at least two mail or package thefts in the city dating back to May,San Marino police Sgt. Robert Matthews said.
After spotting Kamel driving through the city, an officers summoned backup and followed him into the 1500 block of Oak Knoll Avenue in Pasadena, where they pulled the car over and detained Kamel without a struggle, police said. He was alone in the black, 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.
“A subsequent investigation revealed Kamel to be in possession of a U.S. Postal service master key, hundreds of pieces of mail addressed to individual persons and businesses across Los Angeles County, over 100 checks that were addressed to other victims, banking statements, U.S. Passports, California Identification cards and Driver Licenses, credit card encoding and skimming devices, and ledgers containing personal and banking information of many other potential victims,” Sgt. Timothy Tebbetts said in a written statement.
Some of the people whose information was recovered from Kamel’s car had already been the victims of identity theft, Matthews said.
It was yet to be determined whether the case would be turned over to federal officials for prosecution, though it appeared likely, Matthews said. Mail theft is a federal crime.
Thursday’s arrest was the latest in series of arrests by area police for alleged large-scale mail and identity theft schemes.
Police in South Pasadena arrested a Highland Park woman on Sept. 3 after finding her driving through town with a treasure trove of stolen mail, documents, mail keys and other theft-related items. Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, is facing federal charges in the case.
And San Marino police in May arrested a mother and daughter for allegedly driving around with stolen mail, a U.S. Postal Service master key and methamphetamine, police said at the time. Estela Castaneda, 48, of Huntington Park and Elizabeth Castaneda, 22, of Rosemead, also face federal charges.
The two San Marino cases appear to be linked, officials said. Kamel posted bail for Elizabeth Castaneda following her arrest in May, officials said. Their relationship was unclear Saturday.
Kamel is scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
PHOTOS courtesy of the
SOUTH PASADENA >> A Highland Park woman is facing federal charges after she was found driving through South Pasadena early Saturday with a treasure drove of identity theft-related items, including hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, stolen driver licenses, mailbox keys, blank credit cards and a credit card embossing machine, police said.
Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, was accused of mail theft, a federal offense, and other crimes, according to South Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
She was speeding along the 110 Freeway when an officer pulled her over, South Pasadena police Cpl. Craig Phillips said in a written statement.
“The female driver was found to have an outstanding felony warrant for grand theft auto,” he said.
Police arrested Delgado and searched the rented BMW she was driving, which she told officers had been rented by her boyfriend.
“An inventory search of the rented BMW found over 200 pieces of U.S. mail not addressed to the driver, which officers believe to be stolen,” Phillips said. “Officers also found dozens of blank credit cards, a credit card embossing machine, multiple mailbox keys for multi-unit housing complexes, several stolen driver’s licenses and other tools commonly used to commit thefts.”
Delgado, who has previous arrests for auto theft and identity theft, was being held without bail pending her initial court appearance, police said.
PHOTOS: [ABOVE] South Pasadena police seized hundreds of documents belonging to other people and other identity-theft-related items during a traffic stop on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. A Highland Park woman was arrested. [CENTER] Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, of Highland Park. [BELOW] South Pasadena police seized this credit card embossing machine, used to create fraudulent credit cards, along with hundreds of documents belonging to other people and other identity-theft-related items during a traffic stop on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. A Highland Park woman was arrested. (Courtesy, South Pasadena Police Department)
SAN MARINO >> A woman and her daughter will be spending Mother’s Day together, behind bars, after police caught them driving through San Marino with mail stolen from Arcadia, along with a U.S. Postal Service master key and methamphetamine, authorities said.
Estela Castaneda, 48, of Huntington Park and daughter Elizabeth Castaneda, 22, of Rosemead, were arrested just after midnight Friday following what began as a routine traffic stop for a traffic violation in the 1300 block of Bradbury Road, according to San Marino police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers soon noticed that the driver, Estela Castaneda, and her daughter had pieces of mail and checks that had been stolen in Arcadia, along with a U.S. Postal Service lock and master key, or “arrow key,” San Marino police Detective Sergeant Timothy Tebbetts said in a written statement.
As police were booking the women into jail at the Alhambra Police Department, jail guards found the mother hiding “a substance resembling methamphetamine,” the sergeant said.
Police booked the mother and daughter on suspicion of crimes including identity theft, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of methamphetamine and possession of contraband inside a jail, officials said.
“The mail appears to be stolen out of the city of Arcadia,” Tebbetts said. “San Marino Police are working with Postal Inspectors to locate additional victims. U.S. Postal Inspectors are seeking to file federal charges on both suspects.”
Estela Castaneda was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail, while Elizabeth Castaneda was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, records show. Both were scheduled for arraignment hearings Tuesday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Alhambra branch.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Tebbetts at 626-300-0722. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SIERRA MADRE >> Police urged vigilance Saturday morning after discovering about 30 mailboxes had been tampered with in the northeast portion of Sierra Madre, and mail possibly stolen.
The spate of mailbox break-ins was first noticed about 7 a.m., when a resident of the 400 block of N. Canon Avenue went out for a walk and noticed his mailbox had been tampered with, and mail had possibly been stolen, Sierra Madre police officials said in a written statement.
Additional calls soon poured into the police station.
“At this point it appears that approximately 30 mailboxes were tampered with and the incident occurred overnight,” according to the police statement.
Anyone else who noticed their mailbox broken into or otherwise tampered with was asked to report is as well. Police are working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in the investigation.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the nation, police said.
“One of the prime ways in which these identity theft suspects obtain personal information is by stealing mail and your personal mail can be a gold mine to determined criminals,” according to the police statement.
Residents with non-locking mailboxes are encouraged to replace them with ones fitted with locking mechanisms.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sierra Madre police at 626-355-1414.