A Hayward man was arrested last week when a search of his home netted several stolen pieces of mail from residents in the San Ramon Valley and parts of Alameda County. Personal information from the mail, as well as several checks, was used to pay bills and open fraudulent credit cards.
The investigation began when a Danville resident reported that several pieces of mail had been stolen from her mailbox, said Sgt. Allan Shields. The resident was collecting checks from people who wanted to attend a charity event.
"When we started looking into the use of the checks and account and routing numbers, started to see that some of the checks were used to pay phone bills and online or phone telephone services," he said.
By working with the San Ramon postal inspector, Shields and Detective Andrew Burns identified Alan Dennison, 46, as the check-stealing culprit and secured search and arrest warrants.
"While searching his homeâ€¦detectives found checks belonging to other people and evidence of account creation. There was some successful completions and there were also a lot of rejections," Shields said.
Police found a box of 200 blank checks as well as mail from eight San Ramon residents, six Danville residents and two Alamo residents in addition to mail stolen from people in Hayward, San Jose, Martinez and Lafayette. Shields said police have not been able to contact all the victims.
Dennison was arrested for possession of stolen property and identity theft. Danville police are waiting to hear from the Alameda County district attorney after the Contra Costa County D.A. "decided not to file based on jurisdiction."
In order to avoid identity theft and stolen mail, Shields recommended using a post office box or locked mailbox and encouraged residents to shred any mail containing personal information.