Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect title=
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect
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Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

A Santa Paula resident is in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail after she was located in a vehicle on March 3, 2018, in the Painted Cave area with a large quantity of stolen mail, stolen packages and methamphetamine. Some of the stolen property was determined to be from the Montecito disaster area. 41-year-old Melissa Wheeler is suspected of stealing mail from the Painted Cave community and other neighborhoods possibly over the course of the past few months. Her arrest was in a large part due to the proactive work of neighbors, who installed cameras and were able to capture her committing the crime, which aided Sheriff’s deputies in making an arrest.

Since November, Painted Cave neighbors have reported incidents of mail theft in their neighborhood. In hopes of catching the person(s) responsible, residents recently installed a surveillance system. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on March 3, 2018, a resident observed a female suspect removing mail from the mailboxes and called 911. Sheriff’s deputies responded and located a vehicle parked in a turnout near Highway 154 with a female driver who was reclined in the driver’s seat. The deputy noticed a pile of mail in the passenger seat and packages in the back seat. 

Deputies identified the suspect as being Wheeler and determined the mail and packages had been stolen from the Painted Cave neighborhood and other communities including Montecito, Mission Canyon, West Camino Cielo and the Foothill area. The stolen items has or will be returned to their owners. Deputies also located methamphetamine in the vehicle.

Wheeler was identified as being the suspect seen in the surveillance video. She was booked on charges of stealing mail, possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine. She is being held on $50,000 bail.

Mail theft continues to be an on-going issue countywide. The Sheriff’s Office encourages community members to secure their mail by using a locked mailbox. Also, make sure to not leave your mail in the mailbox overnight and if possible promptly pick up mail soon after delivery. If you suspect mail theft, installing a video camera, as was done in this case, is a great deterrent and a way to identify who is responsible.



 March 5, 2018: Mail Theft Caught on Camera and Arrested

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wildturkeyway Mar 06, 2018 07:34 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

I didn't even have to read the article to spot a tweaker once I saw that picture. I hope she goes deep into the system for a long time. Kudos to the hard working folks of the community who brought her to justice.

Roger Mar 06, 2018 07:35 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

I don't put parents of kids in Wood chippers even if they screwed me over I think it's bad enough her family knows now her friends will know soon enough and if she hasn't already she will most likely lose custody of her kid. It's sad her kid has to pay I had to pay too it wasn't fair.

MountainMan4865 Mar 06, 2018 07:46 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

Roger, we were equally as heart broken and sad. It really makes it hard to be angry. I'm sorry she made choices that were so destructive to her world, but it's not okay to bring hundreds of people down with her decision. I know that's not what you were saying, but know we're of the same mindset.

Roger Mar 06, 2018 08:06 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

My identity has been stolen 3 times Once a relative did it..It took 8 years to clear my name it basically ruined my life anyway. The 2nd time it was a woman I did not know who posed as my wife and took Verizon for acouple grand in phone charges in my name I did not know this woman I have never been married. I had her name so I did find her she was already in jail serving time, in jail but she was expected to serve time in jail then get probation on a hard ship that she had Aides and might not survive a prison sentence. I had to press charges or pay the bill myself and I did not commit the fraud after I did file charges she went to prison I never heard from her again. I don't feel guilty she committed the crime just like this gal did...It's sad her kid is going to pay for it I can relate because my father died young and my mother became a criminal...I understand where you are coming from She should get alot of time for what she did but her kid is going to pay for it much more than she does I hope there are people there for him. People should THINK before they break the law. So I did not have to say anymore you already understood...

horsegirl Mar 06, 2018 08:09 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

ugh what a horrible situation all around... her poor child(ren), I hope they get to live with (hopefully substance abuse free) family who can better look out for their wellbeing. how horrible it must be for them to witness their mother going through this battle with addiction. at the same time, I hope this is the wakeup call she needs to clean up her act.
she should have to personally apologize to each and every person she stole from, and do some form of community service for the people she stole from while they were experiencing what were likely the worst months of their lives.

simplynotmyaddress Mar 06, 2018 09:21 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

Whats with the concern of children? I don't see a single mention of kids. All I see is a meth-head. What about the kids of the victims. Screw this db. Screw this liberal "coddle the criminal" attitude. That's why these things keep happening. Even if she does have kids, they'll be better off without her. She'd probably just try to sell them.

horsegirl Mar 06, 2018 10:06 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

Her Facebook profile shows kids. We can sympathize with the children who are also victims, while definitely not coddling the perp. I hope the best for all the victims and I hope that her kids learn from this and turn out Ok in the long run, unlike their mom

MountainMan4865 Mar 06, 2018 10:32 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

It's not a pity party, but more like watching a slow moving train wreck. You see the potential outcome... the upcoming victims, and there is empathy. It's a sticky wicket, it is. Drug addiction... the bar for humanity gets set lower and lower, in that world. I echo Horsegirl - I can only hope that this was an intervention of a Global kind. Other than that, I can say she is extremely fortunate that she was found at the bottom of Painted Cave Rd... and not at the top.

Roger Mar 07, 2018 06:12 AM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

Some people have feelings for other people besides meth heads and people who hate others because they have feelings for others personally I think meth heads and haters have alot in common and I feel sorry for all of the children involved if they have any. just sayin

Momofmany72 Mar 07, 2018 09:55 AM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

I’m not condoning what she’s done at all. It is totally and completely wrong. This woman is someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, family. She’s made some wrong decisions in her life and has to face the consequences. It is embarrassing and infuriating to the people who have loved her and supported her and believed in her. I hope the lesson has been learned and she goes on the straight and narrow path. Only time will tell..

a-1520495304 Mar 07, 2018 11:48 PM
Sheriff's Deputies Announce Mail Theft Suspect

Read every comment. I ask posters to include information when expressing their feelings about a criminal case. Thanks to whoever explained that children were noted on FB. That info would've been useful to the first poster who mentioned kids, whoever that was. Fist bump for IUD, implant, tubes tied, on the early side.

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