Two Hollister residents arrested for mail theft from nearly 30 victims have been sentenced.
Anthony Torres and Stephanie Lujan were sentenced in San Benito County courts.
Torres, 35, received a sentence of four years and eight months in prison at a Feb. 22 sentencing hearing. He had pleaded no contest and had probation denied. Stephanie Lujan, 31 when arrested in September, pleaded guilty and received three years of probation.
Lujan had two serious counts dismissed by the deputy district attorney in the case. Court records indicated that Torres had counts dismissed as well but faced stiff penalties due to prior felony convictions.
According to a San Benito County Sheriff’s Office statement released after their arrest:
On Sept. 14 at approximately 9:40 a.m., San Benito County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the area of the 900 block of Cabernet Drive in the Vineyard Estates neighborhood of San Benito County. A resident of Vineyard Estates had been alerted by his/her surveillance system that somebody had attempted to open their driveway gate. The resident was able to remotely access their live surveillance cameras and saw occupants of a white Ford Expedition removing items from their mailbox. Deputies responded to the area and were unable to locate the car.
Deputies Gillies, Leist and Canez then formulated a plan to respond to exit points of the area and posted themselves at locations around the area. Deputy Gillies then saw a similar vehicle in the area of Tres Pinos Genral Store. The Expedition was parked and a male and female were standing next to it Upon contacting the couple, the female passenger complied and the male fled in the Expedition. While fleeing, the driver threw a loaded firearm out of the vehicle. That firearm was later recovered by Deputy Gillies. The female was detained and was identified as Stephanie Lujan.
Deputies Leist and Canez then went to possible locations where they expected the Expedition and driver to emerge. As Deputy Leist held his position, he directed Deputy Canez to check the Heatherwood Estates neigborhood. Deputy Canez responded to the area in time to see the male flee from the Expedition on foot, through a residential property. Deputy Canez gave chase and, with the help of Deputy Leist, arrested Anthony Torres without incident.
Deputies Leist and Canez responded to the Expedition where they located narcotics, ammunition and nearly 100 pieces of stolen mail from 28 victims in San Benito, Monterey and Santa Clara counties.
The two were booked on the following charges:
Possession of stolen identifying information of more than 10 people – Felony
Conspiracy to commit a felony – Felony
Felon in possession of a firearm – Felony
Felon in possession of ammunition – Felony
Possession of narcotics for sale -Felony
Resisting arrest – Misdemeanor
2 Felony warrants – Felony
Probation Violation – Misdemeanor
The United States Postal Inspectors are assisting and will be in touch with all victims of the mail and identity theft. They will be conducting the follow-up investigation regarding all things related to the stolen mail in both counties. Federal charges may be pending for the suspects.