An alert resident helped the Turlock Police Department catch a pair of suspected mail thieves over the holidays and recover more than 300 pieces of stolen mail.
The arrest of Craig Allen Montalvo II, 31, and Vanessa Besterwitch, 27, was made early on the morning of Dec. 30 after a resident reported seeing two people break into a community mailbox in the 3000 block of Silver Oak Court, said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis.
The Turlock area had been seeing a rash of mail thefts in December, so when the report came in around 2 a.m. officers responded quickly to the area and started searching the neighborhood.
A vehicle was seen pulling into a driveway and when an officer started to approach a man, later identified as Montalvo, he jumped out of the vehicle and took off running.
A short foot pursuit ensued and when an officer caught up to the suspect, there was a brief struggle which ended with Montalvo being taken into custody.
Besterwitch had remained in the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident, Lewis said.
A search of the vehicle turned up 388 pieces of mail and 10 packages, the majority of which were from the Turlock area.
Montalvo and Besterwitch were both arrested on suspicion of grand theft, conspiracy and possession of stolen property. Montalvo also was charged with possession of methamphetamine, resisting arrest and possession of burglary tools. Montalvo had a shaved key that allowed him access to the community mailboxes, Lewis said. Besterwitch also was charged with possession of marijuana.
After being processed as evidence the mail was returned to the post office and sent out for redelivery, said Lewis. The police department is also sending out letters to inform those residents who had mail stolen and recovered.