On Dec. 20, 2021, at about 3:20 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of Herrick Avenue and Alpine Court for the report of an individual stealing mail out of several mailboxes.
The reporting party was able to provide deputies with a good description of the suspect, in addition to the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. Deputies were unable to locate the suspect vehicle in the area during their initial search.
At about 4:11 a.m., Sheriff’s Deputies on patrol in the Eureka area located the suspect’s vehicle at a gas station on the 3500 block of Broadway Street. Deputies conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted one occupant, 41-year-old Curtis George Daniels. Deputies observed packages and envelopes inside the vehicle in plain view.
During their investigation, deputies located numerous packages and envelopes containing mail from several different victims inside the vehicle. Additionally, deputies located a stolen California Driver’s License in Daniels’ possession.
Daniels was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of possession of stolen property (PC 496(a)), theft of US Mail (PC 530.5(e)), possession of identification information for another person (PC 530.5(c)(1)) and driving with a suspended license (VC 14601.1(a)).
During the holiday season, increased deliveries often bring an increased risk of mail theft. Residents are encouraged to be proactive against mail theft by following these tips:
- Promptly pickup mail - Try not to leave letters and packages in your mailbox or at your door for any length of time.
- Arrange for prompt pickup - If you cannot be home to receive a package, make another arrangement (like have a neighbor pick it up for you or have your package delivered to your workplace).
- Customize the delivery- If you are expecting something you know will not fit in your mailbox and you don’t think you will be home to receive it, you can authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number in Track a Package, and select Delivery Instructions.
- Use Hold for Pickup - If you are sending gifts or other important items, you can choose the Hold for Pickup option on usps.com. The packages will be safely held at the recipient’s local Post Office location until they can pick it up. If you are expecting a package and won’t be there to retrieve it, you can redirect it to your local Post Office location by selecting Hold for Pickup using Intercept a Package under Track & Manage on usps.com.
- Request a hold on all mail – You can sign up for Hold Mail service on usps.com if you plan on being away from home or you know you won’t be able to check your mail for a few days. Your letters and packages will be held securely at your Post Office location until you pick them up or request they be delivered to your home. Be sure to notify your mail carrier at least three days prior to leaving.
- Alert a trusted neighbor – If you are going out of town, alert a trusted neighbor to collect any mail or packages that are delivered while you are gone.
- Don't send cash - Be careful about what you send. Don’t risk sending cash in the mail.
- Inquire about overdue mail - If you do not receive a check, credit card or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the sender as soon as possible and inquire about it.
- Install a locking mailbox and a package delivery box – Make sure your mailbox and delivery boxes are big enough to receive several parcels of mail and meet USPS requirements.
- Report mail theft - If you have a home security camera system, make sure it captures activity at your front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local Postal Inspectors. Video surveillance can assist in preventing crimes and catching bad guys.
To report mail theft or other crime in the county’s unincorporated area, contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.
Curtis George Daniels Booking Photo | Humboldt County Correctional Facility