I-Team: Searching for San Francisco home mail theft suspect

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016
I-TEAM: Searching for San Francisco home mail theft suspect
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A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a man accused of taking mail from a San Francisco home while wearing a PG&E vest.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Do you know this man? There's a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction, after he was recorded taking mail from a San Francisco home while wearing a PG&E vest. The home-owner actually watched it happening live on his phone as it was happening. Imagine that feeling.

We aren't sure, at this point, if the suspect is a PG&E employee. That's part of the investigation now underway. We have details of some great new technology and the clues that could catch this guy, suspected of a felony.

You're watching what authorities say is a crime in action -- a man wearing a PG&E vest taking the mail from a Pacific Heights home two weeks ago. The owner's high-tech door bell has a motion sensor; it called him at work and beamed the video live.

Stephen told ABC7 News' Dan Noyes, "I thought it was a mailman until I realized that someone was actually taking mail out of our mailbox instead of putting it in our mailbox."

Noyes asked, "What's that like to be watching live as some guy takes your mail?"

Stephen answered, "I felt helpless."

Stephen didn't want ABC7 News to use his last name, to avoid more trouble. The door bell's technology could have allowed him to yell at the suspect, but he didn't think quickly enough. Stephen did call his neighbor who works from home, and he missed the guy by just three minutes.

Through the door bell, you can hear the neighbor say, "Yeah, there's a wet shoe print. Yeah, your mailbox is open and there's just a couple catalogs in it."

Stephen's worried about stolen credit cards and identity theft. So, he called the police and PG&E, and spoke with one of the utility's corporate security investigators. "And he encouraged me to call ABC I-Team," Stephen said.

PG&E thinks we might have a better shot at finding this guy, and that's where you come in. Take a closer look -- do you know this young man in the video, wearing diamond earrings, a big watch, a new Heavenly Ski Resort sweatshirt, fancy glasses and that PG&E vest?

U.S. Postal Service Inspector Jeff Fitch told ABC7 News: "By wearing the vest there, he's working on camouflage, so nobody is going to give him a second look."

Noyes took Stephen's video to Fitch. He told ABC7 News, if you know who this is, you may receive up to $10,000 from the U.S. Postal Service for an arrest and conviction.

"Stealing mail is a federal offense, penalty up to five years in federal prison, up to $250,000 fine. This is an investigation that we take very seriously," Fitch said.

Even if there is no arrest, Stephen hopes airing this video sends a warning to his neighbors, and a message to the bad guys: "Maybe people that are stealing mail or packages might think twice about doing it, if they know that their image is going to be in social media."

If you know who that man is, call the Postal Inspector at 877-876-2455. PG&E declined an on-camera interview, but told Noyes by phone none of their employees was working in the area at that time.

Noyes asked if an employee could have done that on their own time -- they said, good point, and that they'll dig into it more.

PG&E released a statement saying: "Working closely with law enforcement, PG&E's security team found no evidence that the man in the photos is a PG&E employee. In addition, no PG&E employees were working in the area at the time of the crime. This is a law enforcement case, and we are cooperating with their investigation. With regard to logo-ed clothing, employees are asked to follow simple steps to ensure that clothing items cannot be worn by someone impersonating or posing as a PG&E employee once it's disposed of. This includes cutting out and removing the logo, and cutting it into smaller pieces so it can't be repaired or re-used, and refraining from donating PG&E logo-ed clothing."