Mail Thief Caught on Camera & Arrested

[Update: Sheriff’s Deputies have released the identity of the mail theft suspect. View the updated article here.]

By Jessica

Dear Montecito,

We write to you this evening with mixed emotions.  Yesterday evening and into the early morning hours of March 3, 2018, you were once again violated.  Your mail was stolen in large volumes.  On the other hand…  We got her!

One of us was up late enough to check the cameras, and found our mail thief had visited us only a few minutes before.  She spent a lot of time trying to figure out our new motion activated lights, and found one of the few booby trapped mailboxes, which caused her to leave immediately.  The Sheriff’s Department was called, and units were dispatched.  They found her on lower Painted Cave Rd.  Presumably sorting through the mail, the rattrap was found three feet from the car in a bush.  Although nothing was taken from Painted Cave this time (except for a rat trap and a card to a beloved deceased relative), her car was found full of mail from Montecito.

Deputy Farley took her into custody.  We temporarily close a book on this, but know it will continue.  Deputy Farley informed us that he had redistributed ‘bulky’ packages on his own, but the amount of regular mail was so overwhelming that he contacted the ‘Post Master’ for re-distribution.

Please know this is not the end.  We expect more to come.  We, in Painted Cave are ready, and we ask that you, our neighbors in Montecito be up for the task of protecting yourselves and looking out for your neighbors.

Here is a brief list of what we have implemented:

  • Motion activated lights
  • Motion activated surveillance cameras
  • Game cameras
  • Rat and Mouse traps – to be de-activated in the early am so not to catch the mailman.  (Our mailman knows about them.  Make sure yours does, too!)
  • Inserts from musical cards attached to the inside of mailboxes to play upon opening.
  • Fake packages full of Tanglefoot and glitter and crap from our kid’s rooms that makes it seem like something awesome might be in it.
  • Another top secret contraption to be announced at a later time (but it’s awesomeness is something to behold)


Another possibility is “Party Poppers” linked to you mailbox body and door, but be prepared for the clean up.  Use your imagination.

Most importantly, talk with your mail carrier, chances are they are as frustrated as you.  Chances are, they will support you as long as you are not putting them in any danger, but include them in any conversation of your intent.  Get to know them, they are the eyes and ears of your neighborhood during the day.  Our mail carriers are vigilant and awesome!

We  know the suspects identity, but are waiting for an announcement from the Sheriffs Department before saying anything.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, we give you… mail thief vs. rat trap.

The full video is also available here.

By an edhat reader

Early in the morning of March 3 at 1:55 AM, our mailbox security system in Painted Cave detected motion at our mailboxes. The video was reviewed, 911 was called, and the mail thief was apprehended on Painted Cave Road. She had a box full of mail from Montecito in her car. Her vehicle was a Black Hyundai Elantra (as of 11:30 Saturday morning the vehicle was still on PC road near 154). No Painted Cave mail was taken. The first mailbox she opened was empty, then by chance the second mailbox she opened was our “trap” mailbox with a “surprise” (a large mousetrap) which startled her but didn’t “catch” her. She then quickly got back in her car and left. All of this was caught on our security camera (including the loud snap of the mousetrap). 

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

What do you think?


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  1. Not only are California residents allowed to trap mice for health and safety reasons, Section 116125 of the California Health and Safety code actually obligates them do so (without requiring possession of a license or permit):
    116125. Every person possessing any place that is infested with rodents, as soon as their presence comes to his or her knowledge, shall at once proceed and continue in good faith to endeavor to exterminate and destroy the rodents, by poisoning, trapping, and other appropriate means.
    (Snopes). Someone got the Fish and Game license requirement mixed up with commercial trapping of these critters.

  2. We gotta hear from the INjustice Business over here…There’s nothing wrong with putting a rat trap in a mail box..There was a rat eating their mail How were they to know someone was going to be dishonest and steal their mail?

  3. Too funny. I was surprised nobody was blaming the victim(s). So untypical of SB… but then, lo and behold, someone stepped up to the plate and told the op it was a felony to set traps. Thanks for not letting me down lib. I expect you’ll go to her court hearing, request an O.R. so she can go to a safe room and have some hot chocolate and hug a teddy bear… all the while the true victims are sifting through their mail and hoping they didn’t miss a mortgage payment, or maybe someones grandchild is looking for a birthday card.
    You make me ill. How dare you show any concern whatsoever for the perp. I hope she rots in CIW-Fontana for double-digit annums.
    And you are precisely what is wrong with SB. Great work.

  4. Too bad there wasn’t a dead rat in the trip (real or rubber!)
    Maybe plant one of those anti-theft devices they have at Macy’s or better yet the kind they have at the bank where the ink explodes and you can’t get it off your hands or clothes. Wonder how much she netted from this? It is a Federal Felony to steal mail so we are looking at a lot of time in the BIG HOUSE!

  5. This was not booby trapping but thank you for raising the issue so others can find out for themselves what is okay when protecting your property and what you should avoid. No one needs to feel helpless. The actions of this community were exactly what was needed. Hats off to them. (Trigger warning) Nor did they even suggest they would dig 10 foot pits installed with sharpened bamboo, covered with branches and leaves around their mail boxes. Now let’s pitch in and get them a better camera, so the license plate can be more easily read.

  6. To those who down-voted 3/5/18 4:32: Try ARGUING the point or letting it go, instead of increasing your dopamine by clicking a down arrow for an opinion you don’t like! Do you want the city, the state, or the frigging nation to work that way?!?!?!
    We are all going to hell in a hand basket aren’t we? Hope it’s big enough for all, let’s enjoy the ride!

  7. You are more than welcome!! I’m disgusted by lack of response, especially from region Postmaster. But we’ll celebrate with you tonight. I’m frigging furious at these criminals! Never had these problems in the good old days, like I said. Now get off my dusty driveway and don’t step on the chaparral! 🙂

  8. Way to go PC community! When the law can’t/won’t help you then take control and do it yourself! We need more people like you in this country. I can’t belive anybody could have sympathy for this girl. Lock her up for a loooong time, that oughta teach her.

  9. The rat trap in the mail box is not an actionable “booby trap”. There was no threat of grievious bodily harm. Its use denied no one their” due process” rights, which are an exercise of the government. The perp was already on notice that she was not allowed to steal mail from federally protected mail boxes. Nice to fling fancy words around for effect, but learn what they mean. Self-defense and protection of one’s curtilage are words on the books too.

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