A 29-year-old Lake County man was arrested Wednesday for mail theft in Ukiah, the result of a holiday season surveillance program that targeted thefts from rural mail boxes, Mendocino County Sheriff’s officials said.
Javier Mejia of Clearlake was seen taking mail and packages from the Oak Knoll Road area of Ukiah just before noon Wednesday, Sgt. Matthew Kendall said in a statement. When sheriff’s deputies responded to the area, Mejia fled the scene in a vehicle, Kendall said.
Deputies pursued Mejia to Poulos Court, where he jumped out of the vehicle while it was still in motion. The vehicle struck a parked car and Mejia took off, trying to elude capture by going through neighborhood yards, officials said.
Ukiah police officers spotted Mejia coming out of the rear of a home on Tedford Avenue. The suspect told police that he lived in the house and was out to see what was happening.
But officials said Mejia, who was sweating and had mud and debris from trees on his head and clothing, could not provide an accurate address when asked where he lived.
The vehicle Mejia was driving was reported stolen out of Napa County and its license plates had been removed and replaced with paper dealer plates. In the vehicle, deputies found several packages and pieces of mail that had been taken from Oak Knoll Road residences, officials said. Mejia’s cell phone was also found inside the vehicle.
The Sheriff’s Office said Mejia, who is currently on probation, was arrested on suspicion of mail theft, grand theft, possession of stolen property, reckless evasion and violation of probation. Mejia is currently held without bail in the Mendocino County Jail.
The holiday season surveillance operation is conducted in cooperation with local residents, officials said.
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @renofish.