Mail thefts on Northwest Side keep police busy, annoy residents

Juan Benavides, 50, arrested in one mail theft case

People in a Northwest Side neighborhood woke up to bad news at their mail boxes Thursday morning.
People in a Northwest Side neighborhood woke up to bad news at their mail boxes Thursday morning.

SAN ANTONIO – People in a Northwest Side neighborhood woke up to bad news at their mail boxes Thursday morning.

Affidavit: Man caught on camera stealing from more than 50 mail boxes

It didn’t come in the form of a letter or bill, but instead it was news of a break-in at their cluster mail box on Tall Cedar street.

“I guess, people just looking for checks or credit cards, and it’s just a shame,” said Ray Villarreal, who noticed the burglary as he headed out on his morning run.

Villarreal, who is the HOA president for the Cedar Point subdivision, said this is the third time in three years that mailboxes there have been targeted by thieves.

Homeowner says this is the third time in three years that the cluster mailbox has been hit by thieves. (KSAT 12 News)

“I hope nothing is missing, but who knows?” he said.

While the break-ins often come as a surprise to victims, police seem to be getting reports about them far too often.

In many cases, though, they don’t catch the criminals right away.

However, they got a break-through this week in another case, thanks to surveillance video.

Police arrested Juan Benavides, 50, in connection with mail thefts at an apartment complex in the 3700 block of Medical Drive.

An arrest warrant affidavit says he was caught on camera May 30, prying into two cluster boxes there and stealing mail from 55 individual boxes.

The affidavit says investigators who identified him as a suspect in another case two days prior recognized him in surveillance video from the apartment complex.

Police believe he also could be tied to other mail thefts.

They ask anyone who might recognize him as someone who targeted their mail to call their Prue Property Crimes Unit at (210) 207-8326.

Villarreal, meanwhile, is working on a solution to his neighborhood’s troubles.

“We’re gonna work with the postal service to see about getting some more secure type of box,” he said.


About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.