Santa Rosa man suspected of mail theft

A 46-year-old Santa Rosa man was arrested Thursday after police found a pile of stolen mail in his car, Santa Rosa police officials said.

David Winston was pulled over in a 1999 blue Audi at about 3:30 a.m. after he drove through a stop sign near Chanate Road and Fountaingrove Parkway, Sgt. Mike Lazzarini said.

The officer searched the Audi after he learned that Winston was on probation for theft convictions and out on bail in a pending auto theft case, Lazzarini said.

The search yielded mail addressed to about a half-dozen homes on Kendell Hill Drive and Hadley Hill Road in the Fountaingrove neighborhood, Lazzarini said. The officer also found drug paraphernalia and a "window punch" commonly used to break into cars, he said.

Police said there has been a spike in complaints from neighbors who believe that their mail has been stolen, Lazzarini said. He recommended residents consider installing mailboxes that lock.

"Identity theft is one of the primary reasons why mail is stolen," he said.

Fountaingrove residents also have experienced a spike in burglaries from homes, garages and cars, Lazzarini said. "There has definitely been an increase over the last couple of months," he said.

Winston has been linked only to the theft of the mail in his possession during his Thursday arrest. He is being held in lieu of $12,500 bail at the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of possessing stolen property, drug paraphernalia and burglary tools, violating probation and committing a felony while out on bail.

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