A Madera man and woman were taken into custody last night after an attentive citizen called to report suspicious behavior in his neighborhood.
Just before 9:30PM Saturday evening, a resident in the area of Baron and Dakota in Clovis observed a white Ford Explorer not known to the area parked near a community mailbox in the neighborhood. A male exitedthe vehicle and appeared to be tampering with the mailbox. As the vehicle left, the resident followed it from a safe distance and called police to report the suspicious activity.
The Fresno Sheriff’s Department helicopter, Eagle One, was in the area and assisted Clovis officers responding to the scene. The air unit located the Explorer as it turned north on Clovis avenue from Dakota with the citizen still following. Clovis officers were able to then stop the vehicle nearby. Inside, they contacted 36 year old Tanya Barnes and 34 year old John Holmes, both of Madera. Barnes had several pieces of recently stolen mail from the neighborhood still on her lap as officers walked up.
Officers were able to determine that the two suspects had been driving through the area and had broken into 19 community mailboxes, giving them access to the mail of over 100 neighborhood residents. Fortunately, most people had already removed their mail for the day, so their haul was not as large as it could have been. In addition to stolen mail, officers also located pry bars, mail box keys, shaved vehicle keys, and methamphetamine in the suspect’s vehicle.
Barnes and Holmes were arrested for charges including theft, vandalism, conspiracy, possession of burglar tools, possession of stolen property, possession of ID theft materials, and possession of a controlled substance.