Murrieta police announced the arrest of a suspect in a series of alleged community mailbox break-ins within the city.
Anyse Ruth Smith, 27, of Wildomar was taken into custody Wednesday when Murrieta police served a search warrant at her residence in the 36000 block of Yamas Drive, off of Prielipp Road just west of Murrieta city limits.
According to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad, the department had been investigating the break-ins that began occurring Aug. 3.
Approximately 12 community mailboxes were broken into citywide, Conrad said.
"The suspect(s) in
these incidents generally force open the targeted community mailbox
during the night and remove mail that is valuable for identity theft
purposes," Conrad stated in a news release issued Thursday.
Smith was booked at Southwest Justice Center on suspicion of burglary and fraud. She was released Thursday on $5,000 bond, jail records show, and is due in court Oct. 23.
Because the investigation is continuing, the lieutenant said no additional information related to the case was being released at this time.
The locations of the alleged mailbox burglaries were not disclosed.
Conrad offered the following comments regarding the incidents.
"With this type of case it is important for the community to be involved. Residents are reminded to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.
"When mailing financial documents, checks,
valuable items and/or any documents with identifying information,
residents should avoid using their community mailbox. Instead, mail
these items at your local post office.
"Residents who believe their community mailbox has been tampered with should report this activity to the police department as soon as possible."
Further, Conrad said informed residents whom are involved in a
neighborhood watch program are a "valuable asset to the police
The Murrieta Police Department encourages its residents to
start a neighborhood watch in their area. Those interested in doing so should contact Police Service Technician Frank Lavigne, who organizes the program. Lavigne can be reached at 951-461-6301.
Additionally, information on how to start a neighborhood
watch can be found on the Police Department page of the
city website (www.murrieta.org) under the "how to" tab, Conrad said.
Questions related to this investigation can be directed to Sgt. Phil Gomez at 951-461-6356. Information may be provided anonymously through calling “We Tip” by calling 1-800-78-Crime.