TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KERO) — The Bear Valley Police Department arrested two Tehachapi residents suspected of mail theft and burglary on Fri, May 12.
BVPD officers responded to a call reporting possible mail theft at the intersection of Jacaranda Drive and El Rancho Drive around 3:20 a.m. According to the BVPD, mail theft and tampering have been an issue in the Tehachapi community for several months, leading to an ongoing investigation by the department.
Due to investigative efforts, officers were able to find and pull over the suspect vehicle as it tried to leave the area through the Bear Valley Springs gate. While searching the vehicle with probable cause, officers discovered recently stolen mail and packages, as well as items suspected to have previously been in opened packages.
The occupants of the vehicle, Derik Easttom, 39, and Luz Gudino, 38, of Tehachapi were arrested for email theft and possession of burglary tools. Both were also arrested for misdemeanor arrest warrants relating to past drug and paraphernalia possession, according to the BVPD.
An investigation by the BVPD discovered that Easttom and Gudino had purchased a vehicle from a Bear Valley Springs resident that had a sticker meant only for Bear Valley Springs residents to enter the community. The two had gained access to the area by using the sticker. According to the BVPD, the stickers are currently in the process of "being phased out" and will no longer be used for entry. The department also discovered multiple opened and discarded packages along the roadside.
BVPD officers believe that this incident is related to a "larger mail theft ring affecting the Tehachapi Mountain Area."
The BVPD is in the process of returning the packages and items to those they belong to. This is an ongoing investigation.