WEST VALLEY CITY — Police say a brazen group of burglars has been breaking into U.S. Postal Service trucks and stealing mail while the postal workers are delivering mail.
Since July, at least three delivery trucks from the U.S. Postal Service have been burglarized in the Cottonwood Heights, Taylorsville and Millcreek areas, according to a pair of newly unsealed search warrants filed in 3rd District Court.
The thefts occurred "while the postal carrier was out of the vehicle delivering mail," the warrants state. "When the mail carriers returned to their trucks, a window has been found shattered and large amounts of mail and parcels have been stolen from the truck."
"It is common to have mail thefts from mail boxes in various locations, but it isn’t common to have the actual mail truck burglarized," a federal agent from the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office wrote in the warrant.
In addition to postal trucks, the thieves are also believed to be stealing from mailboxes and construction sites, said West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku.
As of Thursday, no criminal charges had been filed. But the people being investigated were believed to be committing burglaries, theft and fraud "on a daily basis," the warrant states.
A confidential informant told police the suspected burglars — two men and a woman — "use controlled substances on a daily basis and they commit these property crimes to support a large drug habit."
Agents from the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office along with West Valley police detectives identified a potential suspect vehicle and the suspected burglars based on surveillance video and interviews with associates.
After officers kept surveillance on one of the men and his vehicle, West Valley police were led to the Diamond Storage facility at 60 S. Orange St. On Aug. 12, investigators searched two storage units at the facility and recovered a substantial amount of stolen property.
"These items vary from common power tools to high end precision measuring systems. These items were likely taken in vehicle or residential burglaries. There are some items that were obviously stolen from businesses, as is the case in measuring devices. These are the kind of specialty tools that need to be sent away for calibration," Vainuku said.
While the storage units were being searched, one of the primary suspects showed up at the scene. Daniel Selin, 32, was found to be in possession of a loaded .45 caliber handgun, several thousand dollars in cash and a sheet that contained a list of drug sales and the sales of stolen property, according to Vainuku.
Selin was booked into jail for investigation of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, drug possesssion and parole violation. He has an extensive criminal record, according to Utah state court records, including convictions for theft and drug distribution.
No mail was recovered from the storage units. Police say the investigation is ongoing and there could be additional arrests.
West Valley police are looking for the owners of the recovered stolen property. Anyone who believes the department may have their stolen items can call police at 801-955-3613. Those calling need to have the case number from the police agency where they originally reported their theft.
Police plan to post many of the pictures of the recovered property on their Facebook page for owners to identify.
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