Tip of the Hat to EGPD

September 1, 2015 | Anyone who has been the victim of an identity or financial theft, even a minor one, understands the aggravation...

September 1, 2015 |

Anyone who has been the victim of an identity or financial theft, even a minor one, understands the aggravation of being victimized. With the recent guilty pleas of Elk Grove residents Kerri Southwood and Leonard Velasco, we can score a victory for the good guys.

While the arrests and guilty pleas of Southwood and Velasco, and the pending trial of a third co-defendant Joseph D. Ryan of Elk Grove came as a result of working leads and good investigative work between U.S. Postal Inspectors and the Elk Grove Police Department, there is a little more to consider. It appears to have started with Elk Grove Police responding to a seemingly routine shoplifting incident last Winter.

On Wednesday, January 28, Elk Grove Police officers responded to a shoplifting incident at the Kohls store on Bruceville Road. By promptly responding to the call, officers arrested four suspects in two incidents - the suspects included Southwood, Ryan and Velasco.

Based on the suspect's possessions during this shoplifting incident, EGPD and Postal Inspectors were able to tie the trio to the rash of mail box thefts that plagued Elk Grove for months starting last year. At a joint news conference in February, the arrests were announced in front of the Elk Grove Post Office (See video below).

The promptness of Elk Grove Police officers to respond to what now, and then, could be classified as a misdemeanor, nonetheless resulted in the break-up of an organized ring of fraudsters who victimized hundreds of victims. Not to overstate the case, but it is this type of vigilance that led to the arrest of Timothy McVeigh following his act of domestic terror - a vigilant officer performing their sworn duties.

In the last year we have seen an escalation of tensions between some police departments and particular communities that have resulted in unfortunate deaths on both sides. From what we can see, Elk Grove fortunately does not suffer from these tensions and as this case demonstrates, proper vigilance on behalf of our public safety officials helps ferret out real criminal activity. 

While the dogged pursuit and reporting of shoplifters might seem to be a trivial endeavor, keep in mind these arrests can lead to breaks in other cases. Just ask the officers who made this shoplifting arrest last January, or more importantly, their victims.  

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