Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Los Angeles man who targeted Post Offices and stole boxes full of mail was sentenced Wednesday to five years in federal prison.

Jose “Tricky” Manual Guerra, 45, pleaded guilty in September to postal burglary and admitted that he used a crowbar to forcibly break into the North Torrance Post Office on Crenshaw Boulevard on October 24, 2013, with the intent to steal mail.

When he pleaded guilty, Guerra also admitted that he broke into at least two other Post Offices in the fall of 2013. Guerra may have been involved in five other burglaries, according to court documents.

Authorities believe that Guerra learned he was wanted by law enforcement in connection with the postal burglaries and that he fled California to avoid arrest. He was arrested in December 2013 by Postal Inspectors.

A search of Guerra’s then-residence in New Mexico resulted in the recovery of checks, credit cards, various forms of identification all issued in the names of others, credit card statements, bank statements and other items sent through the mail. Some of the checks recovered had been washed and altered.

Individual victims suffered losses of about $1,800 when their checks were altered and cashed by Guerra.

“Today’s sentence should send a clear message,” said Acting Postal Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez. “The Postal Inspection Service will not tolerate attacks on our facilities. Postal Inspectors will aggressively investigate these cases and bring the thieves to justice.”

— City News Service

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